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January 24, 2007

Vic Kasinja, 1957-2007


Vic Kasinja, the Republic of Malawi cartoonist best known for the newspaper features Joza and Taxina, died in Sunday in Lilongwe and was buried early Wednesday. The cause of death was malaria.

Vic Kasinja dropped out of school due to excessive bullying, and was a self-taught artist, working in charcoal. As a graphic designer in 1981 he was discovered by the operator of The Daily Times and Malawi News, David Tarttersall; the News began running his feature Joza soon after. In 1997, upon a request from a Daily Times editor, he created the feature Taxina, whose name-as-title lead was a provocatively dressed woman with a highly sexual public persona. Controversial because of the subject matter, Kasinja saw his lead as a symbol for the explosion of free expression as his home country embraced democracy in the mid-1990s.

He also published a book of the Joza work and made a cartoon under the direction of the United Nations.

The cartoonist would have turned 50 in April, and is survived by two daughters.
posted 2:20 am PST | Permalink

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