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Born 1940, Port Elizabeth

Tony Grogan is very much a product of the Eastern Cape.. Went to school at Selborne College. Tony works mainly in line wash and water colour. And his drawings are known for their freshness, spontaneity and vigour. He has a keen interest in local history  and conservation and has devoted much tie to capturing the older parts of Cape Town and its surrounds to older parts of the city which are being demolished or gentrified.

Grogan taught art at high schools in the Eastern Cape for eight years during which time he honed his talent as a cartoonist,  contributing to the Eastern Province Herald and Daily Dispatch then under the editorship of Donald Woods. In 1974i his long-standing ambition to become a cartoonist was realized when he was appointed to succeed the much-revered David Marais as editorial cartoonist  on the Cape Timrs..
editorial cartoonist.. He served that news paper for over forty years providing the front page quip, ‘Crack of Dawn’ and the main editorial cartoon. His cartoons were known for their wit and sharp satirical tone and political insight . He was the longest serving cartoonist in the long history of the Cape Times.

Tony also served as corresponding cartoonist for long periods for the Sunday Times and Sunday Independent and his cartoons were published internationally.

Tony’s professional career was mainly editorial cartoonist ,, but he is also a qualified artist , specializing in drawing and line and wash water colour. . Seven books of his travels in and around South Africa, including ‘ Cape Town ,’Vanishing Villages ‘, Settler Country’ and ‘A Cape Town Sketch Book’. He has a keen interest in local history and conservation and he has concentrated much of his attention capturing the character of the older parts of Cape Town and surrounding villages  which have been demolished or gentrified. . He is also an illustrator of note , having illustrated many children’s books , humorous books of a more serious tone. His illustrations for Lyn Hall’s short story and cookery book to the Cookery Book festival in Barcelona , ‘Fig jam and Foxtrot’ was awarded the gold prize for best illustration (sic) cookbook in the world.

As a political cartoonist one of Tony’s specialities is caricature, drawing out the essential character of the subject by  simplification and exaggeration. He prefers to draw from life and most of his caricatures are not done at  sittings but at events such as at the Cape Town Press Club lunches and  the Owl Club where guest speakers are drawn at speed without knowing they are being drawn while making their presentations.  Tony has been a member of the Press Club since its establishment in 1976 . Early in his membership it became a custom to present the guest speaker with a hastily framed ,freshly drawn caricature . This tradition  has continued to this day. He made it his practice to do a second drawing , which he asked the celebrity to sign and in this way has gathered and archival collection of drawings of distinguished people who have lived and worked in Cape Town or visited the city in the past forty five years and includes prime ministers, famous sportsmen , writers, explorers, artists ad other distinguished persons who have visited our shores over the years.

The originals of most of Tony Grogan’s cartoons were donated to UICT’s Jagger library , a collection of some 8000 cartoons, so it came as a shock when he heard of the conflagration which destroyed the library with its priceless and irreplaceable documents, papers and memorabilia in 2001. Much to his relief he was later reassured that the collection had been moved to a part of the building untouched by the fire.
Also saved from the flames were the drawings he did of speakers at the monthly meeting of the Owl Club and also the illustrations for the clu’s monthly news letter. These comprise and interesting and valuable historical record in themselves.these had been moved to Kelvin  Grove where the monthly meetings are convened..

Besides his work as cartoonist , Tony is a qualified artist and illustrator and has illustrated many books, and magazines. These include children’ stories  , humorous books  and also books of  more serious content. His illustrations for Lyn Bedford Hall’s story-cookbook ,”Fig Jam and Foxtrot’ was the winner  in the category of best illustration book at the 2003 Gourmand World Cookbook Awards in Barcelona in 2003.
Seven books of his own drawings of travels in and around South Africa for which he also provided the text have been published and have become valued collectors’ items. These include ‘Vanishing Cape Town’, ‘Vanishing villages’, Settler Country”, ‘A South African Sketchbook’ ,’Between Cape and Cairo’- -Drawings of Malawi, ‘An Eastern Cape Sketchbook and ‘A cape Town sketch book.



Tony Grogan
View larger image

Title: Green Market square
Size: 20 x 28.5 cm
Media: Pen & wash
Price: R 3 500 Unframed

A painter and graphic artist of landscapes, genre and portraits. Works in oil, watercolour, ink, wash, pencil and in various graphic media.


1958-60, Rhodes University, under Professor Cecil .Todd (qv)

1963, East London Technical College, under Jack Lugg (qv)

1968-70, Port Elizabeth Technical college, under Alexander Podlashuc (qv); 1970-1973 University of South Africa.


1970-73, a member of the EPSFA

1963-65, an art teacher at Selbourne High School, East London

1968-72, an art teacher at the Commercial High School, Port Elizabeth

1973, at the Belgravia Art Centre, East London. He has illustrated numerous books and articles of a humorous nature.

1974, he has been the staff cartoonist The Cape Times.

1964-65, lived in East London.

1967-73, in Port Elizabeth, thereafter in Cape Town. Travelled widely in SA London and SWA/Namibia.

Exhibitions, He has participated in group exhibitions from 1968 in SA.

1970 Port Elizabeth, first of seven solo exhibitions held in SA.

Publications by Grogan The author of eleven books, including A South African Sketchbook.

1984, Don Nelson, Cape Town; Vanishing Cape Town, 1985, Don Nelson, Cape Town.

(Reference SASSK.)

- Everard Read ( The Dictionary of South Acrican Painters and Sculptors)

Grogan states ( on District six):
“I do have fond memories of my early days in Cape Town where we arrived in 1974 from the Eastern Cape to take up the position of editorial cartoonist of the Cape Times. I remember the editor, Tony Heard advising me on my appointment not to get desk-bound, but to wander around Cape Town and get the feeling, the buzz, of the city. This led to my wandering around Bokaap (the Malay Quarter), in those days a much more degraded and derelict area than it is today, with chickens and goats in the streets and many of the houses falling into ruin. In many ways it offered more inspiration for drawing than it does in its renovated condition today."

Tony Grogan laments the forced removals:  
“District 6 was in its death throes and the bulldozers (Maria’s Steyn the then Minister of Community Development insisted the government would never have been so heartless as to use bulldozers, as the press reported. They were in fact front-end loaders!) were moving in to demolish the last houses. The residents who were still there walked around in in a dazed state of shock. If anything symbolised the callousness of apartheid it was this wanton distraction of an established community, all in the name of a crazed policy of social engineering. The drawings I made at the time I thought formed an archival record and several were included in one of my books published by Don Nelson, Under the title, ‘Vanishing Cape Town’, and as a background to many of the cartoons I did at the time."


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