The competition was organized by the Association of East African Cartoonists (KATUNI).
Alphonce Omondi, a Kenyan cartoonist whose works are published by The Star newspaper in Nairobi, was declared the overall winner. He bags the $3,000 first prize.
Amin Amir, who is originally from Somalia but now practices his craft in Canada, was a close second followed by Damien Glez who is based in Burkina Faso. They each get $1,500 and $750 respectively.
The competition was the first of its kind on Somalia in over two decades and attracted over 800 entries from 265 cartoonists living in 50 countries around the world. 11 Somali cartoonists, some of whom still live and work in Somalia, were among the participants. A selection of the cartoons was put on display at The GoDown Arts Centre in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, from 2-30 April, 2011.
Katuni’s General Secretary, Patrick Gathara, congratulated the winners saying this was a great achievement for cartoonists on the continent.
“I wish to thank all who participated. This goes a long way to show that cartooning in Africa is alive and kicking and deserves to take pride of place among the continents’ other achievements,” he said.
The competition focused on the achievements of, and challenges facing, the Somali peace process and most of the cartoonists identified the Al Qaida-linked extremist group, Al Shabaab, as the main stumbling block to peace in the war-torn country. Some, though, were also critical of Somali politicians and the country’s Transitional Federal Government.
“We hope to make this an annual event since cartooning is an effective means to capture popular sentiment and initiate dialogue,” said Mr. Gathara adding that KATUNI hoped to be able to exhibit the cartoons in Mogadishu.