8 illustrators on #NoToXenophobia

Local illustrators respond to our call for poster designs speaking out against the xenophobic attacks visited on foreign Africans this past week.

From the Series

We received some excellent #NoToXenophobia poster designs in response to our call for local artists to respond to Christoph Niemann's striking illustration of a mouth kicking out its own teeth. They came in through Twitter, Facebook and email, from professional and amateur artists alike.

We want to thank everyone for sharing these with us. We managed to get some of Niemann's posters printed in time to hand out to Khaya Dlanga, who took a delegation of protestors to the peace march in Durban last Friday. Our contacts on the ground in Durban tell us the situation is still too tense to go into the CBD to distribute more posters.

So we thought we'd share the most impactful posters here for everyone to see.

Rikus Ferreira

Rikus Ferreira uses his searingly dark, candy-coloured style to depict the attacks as a form of self-mutilation.

Helga Malan

Joburg-based artist Helga Malan’s work makes an impact by playing off the usually sweet illustrations used in children’s alphabet posters. The xylophone that is so often used to illustrate the letter “X” is here transformed into a cage for attack victims.

Sindiso Nyoni

Founder of R!ot design studio Sindiso Nyoni’s illustration makes the painful, ironic connection between Apartheid-era victimisation and today’s xenophobia. Once oppressed as “kaffirs”, South Africans now turn the violence on other Africans, calling them “Kwere Kwere” (a derogatory term for non-South African Africans).

Sindiso Nyoni

In this illustration, also by Nyoni, the continent is turned upside down and blood, which has run in the streets as a result of the violence, is dripping into the rest of the continent.

Thandiwe Tshabalala

Cape Town-based Thandiwe Tshabala invites Africans to hold hands and unite against xenophobia, no matter what their shade of skin.

Chaz Maviyane-Davies

A graphic portrayal by Zimbabwe native and professor of design at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design: the arrows represent other Africans trying to enter South Africa only to encounter the sharp bite of xenophobia.

Modise Sepeng

Underlying the attacks, believes Modise Sepeng, is a deep-seated hatred or ‘othering’ of Africans with darker skins. In contrast, he poses a positive image of blackness and emancipation in the spirit of the Black Consciousness movement.

Si Maclennan

Si Maclennan is an independent art director, illustrator and graphic designer in Cape Town whose work has been featured in Computer Arts magazine and Maxim New York. “We all cry the same colour tears,” he says of his series of three posters.

Wynand Botha

In this illustration by Wynand Botha a peace dove has pecked another to death.