DEAR President Obama, you visit our country at a very difficult time for our nation. The founding father of democratic South Africa, Nelson Mandela, is said to be in a critical condition in hospital.

The nation and the world is holding its collective breath and in prayers. But then democracy has kept the majority of blacks in South Africa in a permanent critical condition.

Blacks have the vote but remain poor, landless, unemployed and are victims of racism every day. In the United States many blacks find themselves in the same situation as the black majority here.

So, in some ways, you and the beloved founding father have presided over governments that are hostile to blacks. Mr President, don’t be too alarmed by this open letter. We are a nation in such a terminal state that we communicate with each other via open letters.

Just last week our tycoon and playboy Kenny Kunene, the local equivalent of your Hugh Hefner, wrote a scathing letter to the head of our state. You should find time to read it while you’re here; it makes for riveting reading.

The head of state here is “not in good shape” says the playboy.

But I digress. The reason I write this letter is regarding a matter you may find trivial as you worry yourself with world affairs. We have come to accept that you are the king of the world by virtue of being president of the most powerful nation, the US. So in essence you are also our king. Your country regularly bombs other countries for having the bombs that you have. Only feudal kings play like that.

I have been told about your new toy called drones. These things kill innocent people while you claim they kill your enemies.

Your military style is like apartheid stupidity. The apartheid system used to massacre indiscriminately in the desperate belief that perhaps the culprit might be among the murdered. You kill all in the name of justice. Only kings can pervert language like that.

Anyway King Obama, I write to you about the woman your government has recently put on the list of the most wanted terrorists – Assata Shakur.

She is the aunt of the late musical genius Tupac Shakur. She is a freedom fighter who had to flee from the US to Cuba in 1984 after a long terror campaign against her by the US government.

I write because it’s under your presidency that she has now been put on the list of most wanted terrorists and the bounty for her capture doubled from about R10-million to R20-million.

Why is your government declaring black freedom fighters terrorists? You must be familiar with the teachings of Brother Malcolm X. Malcolm X spoke about two types of Negroes in the US during slavery. One was the “house Negro”, the other a “field Negro”.

The house Negro, because of his proximity to the slave master, was happy to be a tool of enslavement of his brothers and sisters who worked the field.

The psychology of the field Negro, on the other hand, was of a person in pursuit of freedom from slavery and resented the slave plantation and the master.

I hope you have watched the movie Django Unchained. The character of Stephen in that film portrays the house Negro perfectly – a menace to black liberation.

Django, on the other hand, with his rifle and flying bullets, approximates the field Negro.

Assata Shakur is the epitome of a field Negro fighting for the justice and freedom of her people.

Mr President, by going after Ms Shakur, you have chosen to be a house Negro, helping to persecute blacks and suffocate their desire for freedom.

Shakur is no terrorist. She is a freedom fighter. Let her go.

Opinion piece: by Andile Mngxitama

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ZIMENE MUMAKONDA

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