Veteran cartoonist Terry Hirst has died aged 82. He passed on at his home in Nairobi on Friday morning. Tributes from fellow cartoonists and cultural analysts poured in for the artist, who first arrived in Kenya from England in 1965.
“It is a sad day for the cartoon fraternity. I am a product of Terry Hirst’s influence and had the opportunity to use the editorial cartoon platform he introduced,” Mr Samuel Muigai, alias Igah, said.
Said Mr John Nyagah: “His passing has left a hole in the world of cartooning, but he leaves behind a treasure trove of comics, cartoons and illustrations. We will forever be indebted to him for charting a path for the rest of us.”
Mr Hirst, who came to Kenya to teach at Kenya High School, played an important role in developing the country’s art curriculum. He also established the Fine Art Department at Kenyatta University College.
“When you are on the frontline of anything, you do not have reference points and you must start from scratch with the risk of being rejected. He triumphed,” Mr Paul Kelemba, alias Maddo, mourned.
“Terry’s deep understanding of African politics, culture and society enabled him to carve out a new form of communication in Kenya, which had just emerged from British rule and was fledgling in all aspects. The character Joe in Joe magazine was a mirror of our society. We could see ourselves in him and his chums.”
Cultural analyst Joyce Nyairo said Mr Hirst was bold, talented and persistent. “His work at Joe nurtured a culture of public art and privileged subversive humour as a handy tool for making social and political analyses.”
Veteran cartoonist Godfrey Mwampembwa, alias Gado, said: “He was the father of editorial cartoons in Kenya. He pioneered this craft and many of us became beneficiaries of his endeavours. His drawings will live with Kenya forever.”
Hirst is survived by his Kenyan wife, three daughters and grandchildren.