Exhibition of cartoons by Eddie Roux

From left to right are Jeremy Cronin, Prof Deirde Pretorius, and Prof Steven Friedman.

An exhibition entitled ‘MAYIBUYE! – the Umsebenzi cartoons of Eddie Roux’ opened at JIAS on Monday 17 September 2018.

The opening was addressed by Deirdre Pretorius, Associate Professor of Graphic Design in the Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture (FADA) at UJ; Jeremy Cronin, Deputy Minister of Public Works, and member of the Central Committee and Politburo of the South African Communist Party (SACP); and Steven Friedman, professor of politics at UJ.

Best known as the author of Time Longer than Rope (1948), Roux was a botanist, founder member of the Young Communist League, member of the Communist Party of South Africa (CPSA), and later a member of the Liberal Party.

In 1930, he took over the production and distribution of the CPSA weekly newspaper The South African Worker, and renamed it Umsebenzi (The Worker). He continued to work on the paper in various capacities until he left the CPSA in 1936. In this period, he not only wrote for and edited the newspaper, but drew cartoons for it as well.

The exhibition has been curated by Prof Pretorius. At the opening, she talked about the cartoons, and Cronin and Friedman about Roux’s life and politics.

Viewing

The exhibition will hang at JIAS for a year. Viewing is by appointment only. Please contact JIAS staff.

Background

In Rebel Pity: the Life of Eddie Roux, partly written by Roux and completed after his death by his wife, Winifred, he commented as follows about the cartoons:

‘A feature of the new weekly was its cartoons. These I made myself in the form of linocuts. The problem was not so much to execute the cuts, for I had always had some facility in drawing, as to think up a new subject each week. I had little time to think except at weekends. The cartoons were worth it, however, for they added considerably to the attractiveness of the little paper, and as I cut the lino I encouraged myself by the thought that the space filled by a cartoon saved me so many hours of laborious type-setting.’

For a background document, including a timeline of Roux’s life prepared by Prof Pretorius, click here.

A note about the image

The portrait of Eddie Roux reproduced above has been copied from the frontispiece in Rebel Pity: The Life of Eddie Roux, by Eddie & Win Roux (Rex Collings, London, 1970). Given that the portrait must have been taken more than 50 years ago, we believe it is now in the public domain, and may therefore be reproduced.

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