If you’re an avid reader of Kenyan newspapers, especially the Daily Nation you’ve probably come across ‘Ndula’ cartoons. The caricatures provide a deep dig into crucial socioeconomic issues in Kenya by employing creativity, humour, symbolism and satire. Victor Ndula, the editorial cartoonist behind these images has amassed himself a lot of fans albeit largely remaining unknown.
Wielding the bravery of a honey badger, he has been able to rub powerful politicians the wrong way and at the same time offer the ordinary Kenyans an opportunity to think deeply about pertinent issues afflicting the country.
Victor Ndula background
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Ndula, alongside other great cartoonists like Peter Kelemba (Maddo), Eric Ngammau (Gammz) and Michael Munene (MuneneArts) owe the great strides they have taken to the late Frank Odoi. Odoi is regarded as the pioneer cartoonist in Kenya and weathered the storm of dark regimes in the quest for media freedom.
According to Ndula, he began his career by polishing his art and then went on to contribute to various publications including the now defunct Coast Express.
“I learnt on the go, through opportunities to contribute cartoons for newspapers and periodicals. I also worked closely with Gado, Maddo, the late Frank Odoi and Khamawira, picking tips of the trade, making many mistakes along the way too,” he said as captured by Nation.
Although Ndula has a bias for political happenings, he also draws cartoons on other themes such as gender, climate change and social issues. In a past interview with AM Live, he explained the important rudiments of a good caricature.
“A good cartoon should speak to everybody and to every issue for the avoidance of doubt. It should be very clear what it is trying to say,” he detailed.
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Ndula worked for the Star Newspaper for eleven years, initially as part time before full-time basis. Just before he left the Radio Africa owned publication, one of his cartoons irked the Kenya Defense Forces, prompting an apology by the media house. During his stint at the Star, he won the cartoonist of the year in 2010 and was recognised the best editorial cartoonist in 2012 by the Media Council of Kenya.
Ndula joined Nation Media Group in 2019. Recently, his satirical images have exploited trending topics such as the lifting GMOs ban, the drought crisis and the alleged fallout across major political pacts. Ndula says his profession is a well paying one and advises budding caricaturists to explore the digital space which offers immense opportunities.
“This is a serious profession, we clock in the hours and at the end of the day it pays. When we were starting out, our only platform was the newspapers but nowadays there is the online space,” he says.
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