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The Trantraal Brothers

Image of The Trantraal Brothers

Nathan Trantraal (left), 33, is a cartoonist and an award-winning Afrikaans poet whose poetry has been translated into English and French. Andre Trantraal, 38, is a cartoonist and writer. Their first published work—a full page, daily, serialized cartoon strip—appeared in the Cape Argus in 2003. Their comic art has been exhibited in Hamburg and Amsterdam as well as in Cape Town. They have, between them, published a graphic novel (Drome Kom Altyd Andersom Uit, Tafelberg Publishers, 2008), and a comic book (Coloureds, 2010). The brothers have adapted historian Koni Benson’s PhD thesis on the history of women’s political struggles in Crossroads into an accessible, serialized comic book format. They have also contributed the artwork for an adaptation of a report by a commission, headed by Kate O'Regan and Vusi Pikoli, tasked with investigating police incompetence and brutality in Khayelitsha. Their cartoon strip, The Richenbaums, appears on a weekly basis in the Cape Times. A second cartoon strip, titled Ruthie, about a black family living in apartheid-era South Africa, ran for a year in the national newspaper, Rapport. The brothers have also made artistic contributions to the Rock Girl project, an initiative concerned with the empowerment of girls of primary school age in disadvantaged communities. They have also done commissioned work for various newspapers, including Rapport, Die Burger, and Beeld. They grew up in the townships of Mitchell’s Plain and Bishop Lavis and are therefore intimately acquainted with the social conditions as well as the less newsworthy but equally relevant ordinary human face of people who call these places home. Much of their work is written in the Cape Town Afrikaans vernacular and they are pioneers in recording, through their poetry and cartoons and comic book stories, this particular orthography. The brothers provided dialogue consultancy services on the French film Zulu, starring Forest Whitaker, which was filmed in Cape Town. Nathan’s teleplay, commissioned by Kyknet, was filmed in 2014.

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