The use of Verbal and Visual Metaphors in the Construction of Satire in Nigerian Political Cartoons

Ibrahim Sani 1 *
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1 Umaru Musa Yar’aduwa University, Nigeria
* Corresponding Author
Online Journal of Communication and Media Technologies, Volume 4, Issue 2, pp. 147-169.
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Given the increased use of political cartoons especially in Nigerian print media and the fact that political cartoons rely on satire constructed in graphic or visual illustrations to express their meanings, Political cartoons are viewed as a form of political satire (Townsend et al., 2008). Through these verbal and visual devices cartoonists construct meaningful and persuasive media messages reflecting current issues and scenarios that are related to social and political happenings in a society thereby contributing significantly to political debates and commentary (Conners, 2005). Using political cartoons published in Nigerian newspapers, this article explores how Nigerian cartoonists employ verbal and visual devices such as visual metaphor in the construction of satire to ridicule politicians and public officers as a means of persuading and influencing public opinion.It has been argued that visual metaphors must be regarded as visual projections and representations of metaphorical concepts. In respect of this, a cognitive perspective of metaphor and semiotic approach were applied to analyzethe cartoons visual presentations of real world events.This study suggests that visual metaphor is a creative and thought provoking rhetoric that strongly appeals to the minds of readers more succinctly than its verbal counterpart. The findings of the study indicate thatthe cartoons mostly indicate laughing satirical tones and the interplay between verbal and nonverbal devices in the political cartoon genre of media discourse provides a creative way of using language to accomplish specific communicative purposes in a society.Moreover, the findings suggest that visual metaphor can be utilized conceptually to construct satire as a way of denouncing social, political and economic vices to transforming societal values.


Sani, I. (2014). The use of Verbal and Visual Metaphors in the Construction of Satire in Nigerian Political Cartoons. Online Journal of Communication and Media Technologies, 4(2), 147-169.