By Mohalenyane Phakela
MASERU — After falling in love with art when he was introduced to the use of a pencil at kindergarten, Lisema Mapetla’s career as a cartoonist was set at a tender age.
The artist, who hails from Masianokeng, sees cartooning as a form of art in which he can convey important messages in a humorous way.
The art form has been used for generations as a tool for spreading information on social, economic and political issues.
Through satirical cartoons, artists add homour to every day struggles.
“I started drawing cartoons from as early as my days in primary school. I fell in love with cartoons the first time I watched television cartoon programmes,” said Mapetla in an interview with the Weekender on Tuesday.
“As a child, I would express my feelings and thoughts through drawings.
“As time went on, I found my love and passion for this art to be the fuel of creativity and artistic skills that inspire my drawing.
“Initially, I would draw for fun, expressing myself so as to make my friends laugh. However as I grew up, it came to my attention that art is practiced globally and one can actually make a living out of it.”
This compelled Mapetla to consider the possibilities of undertaking cartooning as a career, but the problem was that it did not have that much recognition or appreciation in Lesotho.
He realised that he needed professional skills so he pursued his studies in Graphic Design at Limkokwing University.
“I believe people like Zapiro did not just become great overnight, he obviously started somewhere.
“I then decided to take a bold step and take it as a lucrative hobby which has now become a career.
“I was greatly inspired by Zapiro because he is one of the most skilled cartoonists in the world. He is able to draw cartoons about daily news headlines adding a lot of humour to them. He has also published a number of cartoon books which is my dream.
Mapetla further said that there are a lot of cartoonists in the world competing for public attention.
“The cartooning industry is not that huge in this country but I find myself competing with the likes of South African cartoonists Zapiro, Mangena and Yalo as most local newspapers resort to their drawings.
“I would like to see myself as one of the best cartoonists this country has ever had and to release a lot of comic books for everyone to enjoy while getting educated.”