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William Papas (1927-2000)


William Papas (1927-2000)

‘Bill Papas [is] a man of many talents, a superb draughtsman and one of the world’s most distinguished editorial cartoonists’ (Harold Haydon, editor of
The Chicago Sun)
William Papas was born in Transvaal, South Africa, on 15 July 1927, the son of a Greek baker and restaurant owner. Attending the Pretoria Boys High School until 1943, he ran away from home in that year and lied about his age in order to join the South African Air Force as a rear gunner, flying coastal missions. At the end of the war, Papas began studies at the Johannesburg Art School, but left after one year and moved to London.
Papas studied part time at Beckenham Art School (1946) and later at St Martin’s School (1947-49). He then spent several years travelling around Europe, earning a living as a freelance illustrator, and also taking odd jobs.
Returning to South Africa in 1951, Papas worked as a staff cartoonist on the
Cape Times, this being one of the principal publications to oppose the rigorous racist legislation that the National Party government was steadily introducing at the time. In 1954 he left the Cape Times and began freelancing as an artist/reporter for, amongst others, the Johannesburg Star and Drum Magazine. His coverage of the 1958 Nelson Mandela trials was syndicated to the London Observer and other European newspapers.

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