Brazilian tourists sang ‘Happy Birthday’ in front of a life-sized statue of an eternal six-year-old girl on Monday. But the icon parked on a bench in a middle class Buenos Aires suburb has actually just turned 50.
The statue is of Mafalda, a famous comic strip character which took Argentina by storm when she was first published in 1964 following several years of military dictatorship.
Popular across Latin America, Europe and much of Asia, the cartoons follow the adventures of a young girl who hated Communism but loved the Beatles.
An exhibition to celebrate the work of her creator Joaquin Lavado – known as Quino – has opened in the Argentinian capital.
Attending a ceremony to mark Mafalda’s birthday, Quino recalled how she put aside childish past-times for an interest in world affairs.
“The issues raised were always things that concerned me and they continue to worry me, nothing has really changed,” he said.
“But children today are so informed about everything that is happening in the world. When I was a child I had no idea who people like the Pope, and so on, were. Today, children know everything.”
The cartoon strip was translated into more than 30 different languages before being turned into books and then a series of short animated films.
Seen as something of a child prodigy, Mafalda was deeply concerned for humanity and world peace who cleverly and subtly touched on current events of the 60s and 70s.