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January 25, 2008

Cartooning On The Body

Cartooning On The Body

As in many African countries, literacy is low in Cameroon, and open criticism of the government is dicey. For these reasons, newspapers there have developed a rich tradition of political cartooning.

Issa Nyaphaga used to be a political cartoonist in Cameroon, but in the mid-1990s, the work was more dangerous. Issa says that after a contested election, the government started cracking down on journalists. Issa spent time in prison under horrific conditions, and escaped to Paris where his cartooning evolved.

Issa's art is now animated: he paints dots and lines on his body that leap and dance when he moves. He says the symbols all have meanings within the stories and traditions of his culture - and his own story of exile.

The Election

Adam Trotter learned a big civics lesson in the 4th grade - his teacher ran a presidential election. Adam was cast in the role of the governor from Georgia and his best friend was the governor of California. Fierce campaigning ensued and the best friends found themselves at odds. Adam wrote his own debate speech ... but after hearing the speech of his opponent, he had a sneaking suspicion his friend's dad had helped just a little too much. The results of the election changed Adam's mind dramatically about how we elect candidates.

Music

Nights in Zeralda by Manu Dibango for the album The Very Best of Manu Dibango; Harp and Soul (Harp and Electric Piano) by Steven Halpern for the album Music for Sound Healing

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