Aframerican Bookstore


The Black Panther is an African Cat


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The Cat

THE BLACK PANTHER IS AN AFRICAN CAT, Wopashitwe Mondo Eyen we Langa's volume of poems and raps, not only contains Mondo's in­sights through the printed page but through the assemblages /collages that serve the function of helping the reader to see what he sees..

In the preface to his collection of poems and raps, Mondo speaks of Pete and Charlotte O'Neal, former Panthers from Kansas City who are living in exile in Tanzania, and says that, like them, he has "journeyed to the Motherland."  However, his journey has not been a physical one but a journey made via "books and other printed mate­rials, filmed/taped documentaries, conversations, my own contemplations, etc."  As to the poems and raps he selected for this book, Mondo states: "[They] express what it means to me to be an African and how the meaning of this influences how i see and inter­pret things.  At the same time, though, i'm an African who was born and brought up in the U.S. and continues to be influenced by its institutions, and i'm an African who's been locked up for nearly 35 years.  These poems and raps are expressive of and generated by all of this."

Professor Julius Thompson, Chair of the University of Missouri-Columbia Black Studies Program, has reviewed this volume by the long-time advocate for the dignity and rights of African people, writer, and political prisoner.  Thompson characterizes THE BLACK PANTHER IS AN AFRICAN CAT as "one guide for black people everywhere--as indeed, the black struggle continues..."  He also shares with us his take on "Mondo's poetic voice and life's struggle" as a re­minder of "the dues that African peoples have paid on the journey of life."

In her review in the Lincoln Star Journal, Fran Kaye [who teaches English and Great Plains Studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. and also volunteers in several local and international peace and justice organizations] notes that the author of the poems in The Black Panther is an African Cat ” . . .  uses voices ranging from rap to an African demotic to a highly polished American Standard English reminiscent of Langston Hughes.  The poems focus on building and educating all Americans to the need for social justice in a society where Mondo’s 36 years of imprisonment for a crime he insists he did not commit is ongoing evidence of the continuation of racism."