The history and importance of Mafalda for Latin America

Honoring the death of the famous cartoonist Quino, we decided to review his work and explain the importance of the character of Mafalda.

Mafalda in Campo San Francisco, Oviedo.

We will tell you how Mafalda became an iconic character in Latin American culture. / Photo: Wikimedia – RosanaAG

LatinAmerican Post | Ariel Cipolla

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Leer en español: La historia e importancia de Mafalda para América Latina

Recently, we learned that the Argentine artist Joaquín Salvador Lavado Tejón, better known as Quino, died at the age of 88 , as mentioned by the newspaper Página 12. He is described as “one of the most important graphic artists in Argentine history”. since he had an extensive and acclaimed career on an international scale.

It is in the same sense that the El Comercio website highlights that he was "one of the most emblematic graphic humorists in Latin America", because in his works he portrayed all the evils that he observed in humanity, being a really important mirror for the Latin American youth of that time.

Knowing that, as stated in the Clarín media, the creation of the Mafalda strip "transcended borders", we decided to investigate the origins and importance of the mythical character created by Quino, who managed to be translated into more than 30 languages and is of enormous importance to understand the Latin American foundations.

Mafalda: a Latin American symbol

When we talk about Mafalda, we instantly have to associate her with an idealistic girl. According to what characterizes the Buena Vibra website, she is the “most famous girl in Latin America in the world”, who managed to reflect effectively on capitalism, the economy and the world order.

Therefore, to understand her importance, it is necessary to delve into her history. According to the specialized media Todo Comics, on September 29, 1964 the strip Mafalda debuted, which appeared in the magazine Primera Plana. The character, itself, had been created the previous year, Quino choose her gender without a clear "motivation", but knowing that she would seek social equality.

Even the website of La Nación ensures that the author revealed that the character "was born by order of an advertising agency" , so, at first, he wanted it to be a family strip, although little by little he realized the potential that she had, so he began to form her own personality.

This makes us understand why, being a character that was created more than 55 years ago, she is still important today. Even, as Milenio points out, the late author mentioned that he was "surprised" that Mafalda is still so valid, at the same time that it "depressed" him that the same social criticisms continue to be repeated.

Mafalda's character was a girl who represents the idealistic and utopian aspiration to make a better world. In other words, she showed the idea of “changing the world” that existed in the 60s and 70s, so many of her interventions were often based on the common sense of many of the people who observed the problems in the that our region was immersed.

Also read: Brain drain: What is the future of Latino youth?

The fact that she is a childish character did not diminish her importance, quite the contrary: the restlessness of that age implied a mix between naivety and maturity inappropriate for her age, making the reader also question everything she was experiencing. This is why, according to the website Guía Infantil, Mafalda also taught the children different values, such as critical thinking or friendship.


This is why the Télam news agency comments that, through the “occurrences” of Mafalda, a great critical impact was achieved, which was transmitted from generation to generation. Through many iconic phrases, such as "stop the world, I want to get off", the irony and grace of being in a system that, although it can be criticized, seems to never change, was reflected.

At the same time, from ABC they mention that the thoughts of this girl "have remained forever in the collective memory", representing the spirit of rebellion of several generations. Precisely,  her spirit will continue to live with us, with a caricature that has made us laugh, cry, but above all, think of a better world.

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