This is a guest post by Jenni Hulse
In Africa, where media repression is widespread and state-controlled broadcasters the norm, the success of a familiar form of televised political satire offers new hope for freedom of speech. South Africa’s ZA News and Kenya’s The XYZ Show are recognisable descendents of the UK’s Spitting Image and France’s Les Guignols, using latex puppets to ridicule major politicians and celebrities. Like their European predecessors, both shows are huge hits in their native countries, controversial in their content and provoke mixed reactions from the politicians they lampoon.
It is no coincidence that The XYZ Show and ZA News were both masterminded by political cartoonists. Print media in Kenya and South Africa enjoy relatively high levels of freedom and satirical cartoons, published in major dailies, are an important and popular form of political criticism.