Game Changer: Jeremy ‘Jerm’ Nell
South Africa's most inspirational men and their #BestAdvice. @mynameisjerm, 34, cartoonist

January 22, 2014

Jeremy Jerm Nell

“You’ve only made it when you’ve been sued by the president.”

Cartoonist Jeremy Nell is joking, kinda, about the godfather of South Africa cartooning Zapiro, but by most standards Nell has definitely made it. Jerm as he is known has worked for major publications like Time, The Sunday Times, The Times, Rolling Stone and The New Age (there’s an explainer) to ENCA and Eye Witness News. Along the way he won Vodacom Journalist of the year for 2011.

Not bad for a guy who flunked out of art school at UCT.

About that New Age stint? Second to being sued by the President, getting fired by your employer is often an indicator that a cartoonist is hitting the mark. After The New Age he was inundated with offers.

But instead of taking on another paper, Nell opted for online. For a while he was the only online digital media digital-focused cartoonist out there (there are now three).

#BestAdvice: Don’t always listen to the pros.
“They are not always right. Take what they are doing and see what they are doing right and adapt it. That’s what Sir Richard Branson said. Take what someone successful is doing, mimic that but make your own path. If you try to do what they do, you will lose yourself. The pros were not pros when they started. They became pros by going against the grain and finding their own way. The best advice I have picked up on over the years has not been from the pros or the purists, but from the readers.”

*By Tudor Caradoc-Davies