Africa's Political Cartoons
Tejumola Olaniyan founded Africacartoons.com, the first continent-wide digital encyclopaedia of political cartoons by African artists.
The primary motivation for starting Africa Cartoons was to stimulate more scholarly interest in African cartoons. The secondary motivation was to entertain enthusiasts of cartoons and cartooning in Africa. Olaniyan wanted to compose an encyclopedia that is comprehensive in its continental coverage. He originally planned it as a book but decided on online web for easier accessibility.
"Politics is the art of managing the way we organize ourselves in society, how we marshal and distribute resources and responsibilities. Politics, as such, will never cease to be a contentious business, and political cartoons are everyday in-the-moment commentaries on how we could still do better, all things considered. In this sense, the political cartoon is a most utopian art in the most heroic and selfless way. It never praises us, because it believes we can always do better, and it pokes fun at us for not aiming higher. It does all the goading in the most hilariously entertaining way. The particular targets of a political cartoon may not always see the humour or irony, but the political cartoon is a foundationally humanist art, so its attacks are never as absolute enemies who must destroy one another but as fellow human beings sharing the same space, in competition, a competition between the rich and the poor, the powerful and the powerless, a competition we must continually struggle to manage better. This is the big significance of political cartoons. The world would be much poorer indeed without them," said Olaniyan.