The illustrator and publisher of ‘ding dong’, a South Sudanese on-line political cartoon, has announced it is closing down its branches in East Africa and will commence operations solely from its London HQ after securing from the UK embassy in Nairobi, long-awaited specialised visas, work permits and insurances for all of its cartoon characters.
According to a new UK immigration laws (amended and passed in December 2013), all political cartoons illustrated or printed in the UK featuring foreign characters require a specialised visa, work permit and insurance especially where high risk characters like politicians or failed-states are involved.
Earlier this year, UK immigration officers stopped the publication of a political cartoon in The Sun, a prominent UK-based paper, that featured a character of the Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe whose permit expired some days earlier.
Similarly, the Economist was fined a few thousand pounds for a Nelson Mandela character. According to the charge, the paper did not update the permit of the character after the passing of Mandela as required by the law.
With this new development- one that the fans of ‘ding dong’ are embracing -, the illustrator expects to offer more quality service and introduce some new characters not showcased or ‘allowed to work’ before due to the lack of proper paperwork.
“I realized how serious political cartooning is when I had to buy life insurance for my characters in case something accidental happens to them that will affect my business. As for the work permits, I had to think hard about who will remain in the political scene for years to come… this is serious.. now I even enjoy cartooning our politics even more..” said the illustrator.
The closure of the offices in Africa will not affected any of the characters, their work or livelihood.
‘Ding dong’, and all the legal migrant-characters, can be seen at http://warille-warille.blogspot.co.uk/