For African cartoonists like Jonathan Shapiro and Tayo Fatunla, knowing how far one can go safely can be a fine art, as their Danish colleagues are aware.
This year, Madonna's adoption of a one-year-old in Malawi led to blanket Western media coverage but whether Africa's Aids orphans benefit is none too clear.
Aids remains a big issue. South Africa's derided health minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang was sidelined and her country's HIV drug policy revamped, to the great relief of activists.
Africa always has its fair share of bad news, with poor leadership in Africa a strong territory for cartoonists across the continent.
This year the arrest of larger-than-life former Liberian leader Charles Taylor, who is now awaiting trial in the Hague, was welcomed by many.
But there are fears this precedent could deter rebel leaders from agreeing to peace and stop some leaders in Africa from stepping down, fearing international justice.
For critics, the credibility of African leaders will remain a problem until they are able to unite effectively to resolve divisive issues like the crisis in Sudan's Darfur region.
And even with goodwill directed towards the Democratic Republic of Congo's President Joseph Kabila after successful elections - he has an appalling legacy to overcome.
Opinions on PW Botha's legacy were divided when the last great defender of apartheid died in October. His belligerent finger-wagging was remembered for one last time.
Current injustices occupy Nigeria with the transition to a fully fledged democracy remaining fraught. Next year's polls should see the first civilian transfer of power since independence.
One big theme across Africa this year has been China's growing interest and investment in Africa which is bringing threats as well as opportunities.
And it remains everyday issues like crime and employment that are perhaps of most concern to Africans - and will still be next year.