By Journalists For Justice (JFJ)
Last week, Journalists For Justice (JFJ) hosted a visit by a number of African journalists who came to The Hague to find out more about the International Criminal Court (ICC) and it’s trials. The ICC is often seen as a divisive force in African countries in which the perpetrators of crimes against humanity are brought to trial.
One of the visitors was Gado, a well-known editorial cartoonist who works in Kenya. Here’s a transcript of the interview he gave to DutchbuzZ. The interview has been edited slightly for clarity.
DutchbuzZ: You are here with other journalists from Africa on a study trip organised by Journalists For Justice (JFJ). How do think you have benefited from being here with journalists reporting on the cases?
Gado: You get to know notonly the goings-on in the Courtbut also you get to hearfrom people who have covered thesecases up close.
DutchbuzZ: Is this visit going to help you in your work as a satirist operating in East Africa?
Gado: Definitely. I mean if you want to be effective and good at being an editorial cartoonist you have to know your subjects inside-out. You have to dig deep and understand the matters at hand fairly well because that gives you the opportunity to understand them and come up with good ideas.
DutchbuzZ: The ICC has been a bit of a political football in parts of Africa, especially Kenya as one of the situation countries. How have you managed to portray that?
Gado: It has been one of the very dividing issues as far as Kenya is concerned but also in many African countries. Yesterday listening to some of my colleagues from Ivory Coast, it was as if they were talking about Kenya. The ICC issue has always been a contentious and very divisive issue because of the nature of the subject. As an editorial cartoonist I you are always caught up in the middle because. Just like in many other issue, you tend to look at the subject and try to make a good cartoon out of it. In Kenya for example, the ICC cases in Kenya divided the country. It was a very politically charged issue.
DutchbuzZ: Do you live dangerously as a cartoonist in East Africa?
Gado: No. I live peacefully as a cartoonist in East Africa. But yes it can be a dangerous
Occupation. I have experienced threats. We have seen the attacks on artists in many
Countries. We have always to guard against that.
DutchbuzZ: The most extreme case is Je suis Charlie (aka the terror attack on Charlie Hebdo offices in January 2015)
Gado: Exactly.We have seen that artists have been killed because of their work. Speaking from an African perspective, I have always argued that it is important to protect what we have gained all these years and to make sure that artists can do their job without all these threats around them and because artists play an important role as far as the society is concerned and I think that’s very important.
DutchbuzZ is the only English language radio programme in The Hague, city of peace and justice.