When strolling around in Buenos Aires’ oldest neighborhood San Telmo, you will meet Mafalda and her friends. Especially when you’re walking in the street Defensa. That is also where the market “Feria de San Telmo is held every Sunday. Who is that little girl sitting on the bank and what the story behind Mafalda in San Telmo?

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Mafalda in San Telmo: the history

Mafalda was born in 1963 by the cartoonist Joaquín Salvador Lavado Tejón, better known as Quino. The 6-year-old cartoon girl was created as an advertisement for the company Siam Di Tella, an Argentinian car manufacturing company. The plan was to publish the cartoon in the Clarin newspaper but was withdrawn later. Mafalda and her friends were first published in 1964 in the magazine Primera Plana. She became fastly famous in South-America, Quebec, Asia, and parts in Europe.

Mafalda is a reflection of a middle-class family living in Argentina with a progressive mindset. She is concerned about world peace and humanity issues and approaches these topics with a serious but upright attitude.

Mafalda, a cultural icon

Cartoonist Quino first published Mafalda in Primera Plana – a weekly magazine – and afterward moved to the newspaper “El Mundo”. Mafalda reflected on news topics with some satire and the adults in the cartoon couldn’t often react to her questions and way of thinking. She saw the topics from a child’s view and with a refreshing way to see world problems. She is a cultural icon in Argentina and especially Mafalda in San Telmo.

Quino Mafalda Defensa and Chile San Telmo
Mafalda sitting on the bank in San Telmo

Where to look out for Mafalda?

As a tribute to Mafalda, you will find small statues of Mafalda and her friends Felipe, Manolito, Susanita, Miguelito, Libertad, Muriel, and Guile in the streets of San Telmo. Also, the neighborhood where Mafalda is born as a cartoon. One of the most famous statues is the bank with Mafalda sitting accompanied by Manolito and Susanita. You will find that bank on the corner of the street “Chile” and “Defensa”.

During the day, waiting lines will appear for taking a photo with Mafalda in the bank. But you should look out for the apartment located in the street “Chile” on number 371. Cartoonist Quino lived there for 22 years. A remarkable place in San Telmo.

Mafalda was last published in 1973 in Siete Días Ilustrados. However, in 1976 Mafalda saw the daylight once again as an illustration for a UNICEF campaign.


My roots in Buenos Aires started as a tourist. After some great adventures in Argentina, I moved in 2017 to the metropolitan city of Buenos Aires. I felt a need for correct and honest information for tourists. That's why I love to write to you. Sharing my discoveries in Buenos Aires. I hope you enjoy the city as much as I do! Buenos Aires ❤️

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