Protesters in front of the U.S. embassy during the visit of U.S. President Obama to South Africa on 28 June 2013
Protesters in front of the U.S. embassy during the visit of U.S. President Obama to South Africa on 28 June 2013

The recent visit to South Africa by United States President, Barack Obama over the weekend exposed South Africa’s ruling elite, academics, commentators (editors and journalists) and analysts as a bunch of assimilados (indoctrinated people who have assimilated the coloniser’s mentality). It also exposed their naiveté.

Dr Chris Landsberg of the University of Johannesburg came across as an excellent spokesperson for Obama and the United States government. Dr Landsberg was upset that some of his colleagues in the Senate of the University of Johannesburg were against the conferring of an honorary degree to Obama. He also said Africom bases on the African continent would allow both the US and African countries to launch rapid response missions in the continent’s trouble spots. Why is Dr Landsberg making a case for the recolonisation of the African continent and re-enslavement of the African people? Unfortunately for Dr Landsberg the US’s Africom bases are not meant for humanitarian considerations but to subjugate the African continent and make it fertile ground for US corporations to exploit the continent’s mineral and natural resources.

Obama’s mission is to drive the quarry (African continent) towards the hunter (US corporations) and is doing so unashamedly. How does Dr Landsberg justify the awarding of an honorary degree to such a character?

Another academic, Dr Xolela Mangcu wrote in a weekend newspaper supporting Obama and the US government while condemning those who demonstrated against Obama’s visit to South Africa. He wondered why a country existing on the margins of global public consciousness with an economy that make up 0.66% of the global economy, was seeking to embarrass a visiting leader of the only country we can really rely on as a potential best friend in the long run. Perhaps Dr Mangcu is oblivious of what former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger once said a few years back. Kissinger said the US does not have friends but interests and this is the man who is more influential on the US ruling elite than Obama.

Mangcu also wrote that “the struggle against apartheid put us on a higher moral pedestal than most other countries in the world. To prove it, we have more Nobel Peace Prize Laureates than any other developing country”. In his Decolonising the African Mind, Chinweizu writes that the basic Pan-Africanist case against the Nobel Prize is that, despite its universalist image, the Nobel Prize is not a genuine world prize; that is to say, it is not one organized by all the nations, administered by all nations, and free from domination by a parochial minority of nations. Beneath its universalist image, the Nobel Peace Prize is, in fact, a local European prize. The standards applied in awarding it are European; the awards committees are European; and the awards are manipulated with full opportunistic regard for their role in fostering the hegemony of the West over the rest of the world. When the Nobel Prize is bestowed on persons from the Third World, writes Chinweizu, the prizes have, almost invariably, gone to persons who have accommodated themselves to the Western world outlook and served its interests.

In 1985 Bishop Desmond Tutu was forced to recant his statement in which he suggested that the South African struggle would enter a violent phase where black servants would poison their white masters. So Mangcu should not have even mentioned the issue of Nobel Peace Prize Laureates at all in his Obama praise singing piece.

Finally, Mangcu confuses the cultural ties between African Americans and Africans with the US establishment as represented by Obama. This reminds me of what the late Dr Cheikh Anta Diop said when he challenged white supremacists that associated race with intelligence. He said they confused rectal temperature with good health. This is what Mangcu seems to be doing. US foreign policy is inimical to Africa’s interests and will always be like that as long as the power relations remain the same.

By Sam Ditshego
The writer is a Senior Researcher at the Pan Africanist Research Institute (PARI)


  1. I always wondered why Xolela Mangcu’s views are biased in favour of the US government only to find he was or is a fellow of the Brookings Institute and the Rockefeller Foundation. These institutes are reactionary.

  2. Dr Chris Landsberg studied at the University of Johannesburg when it was still called the Rand Afrikaans University, Rhodes and Oxford universities. Dr Xolela Mangcu studied at Wits and Cornell Universities. Should we conclude that they have been taught this US praise singing from those universities and imparting them to their students wherever they are or were lecturers? I am reminded of a documentary I watched on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation featuring Malcolm X and an African American PhD holder who defended the US establishment with all his being. Malcolm X told him he was just a nigger with a PhD. Do we have niggers with PhD’s in our midst?

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