Why Africans Should Stop Celebrating Black Panther
Marvel studio’s latest offering, the Black Panther has been breaking records for the past three weeks. By the end of last weekend, the movie had grossed over $700 million at the box office.
It is now well on its way to $1 billion mark by the end of this weekend.
Its commercial success is now undisputable, thanks to its Afrocentric theme. Black people across the world swooped in on it, owning it completely.
If black people had any ego, the movie has done a good job at massaging it.
That said, Black Panther is a well thought out and executed project. The messages resonate with the Africa Rising narrative.
The movie sought to turn the mirror; the African narrative since the end of slavery and colonialism has been of a continent plagued by diseases, poverty, corruption and political instability. In today’s western media, it is difficult to find any positive narrative about Africa.
This is why the movie, by flipping the mirror and portraying Africa as a rich, powerful, technologically advanced nation pretending to be a poor, third world country, caught on with not only Africa but all people of African heritage across the world.
For a people that have been used and abused for centuries, it is not surprising that the story is being celebrated as it is.
However, beyond its entertainment value, Black Panther should lead to a deep of reflection on the part of all black people alive on the horrific condition of Africa today.
Is it possible to have an Africa that is not choking with poverty, like Wakanda? Is it possible to have a rich, technologically advanced Africa capable of extending aid to other nations, like Wakanda?
The answer is yes. At the core of the African problem today is the challenge of leadership. From wherever you turn in the continent, lack of meaningful and progressive political leadership has meant that Africa, a continent brimming with natural and human resources, is unable to lift a finger to help itself.
Our inability to help ourselves extends to even the fictitious Wakanda which we had to wait for the west to point us to.
Today, the continent despite its resources, relies heavily on foreign aid. When the West says, grow up, no more aid, the continent turns to China or Russia. Africa seemingly cannot think of a future not mortgaged by foreign aid.
Like the fictitious Wakanda, Africa is a rich country hiding in plain sight. The only difference is that unlike Wakanda, Africa has not found or recognised itself. So, it is left with wealth only known to those from outside.
Granted, the mental damage done through colonialism and slavery for over 400 years cannot be repaired in over 50 years of independent Africa. But with the type of leadership in the continent, it is difficult to see how even how the situation could be remedied with even more time.
The continent has remained in the hands of a bunch of self-serving leaders who have no ambition beyond their stomach and those of their children.
If you are a young person in Africa, especially in Nigeria and you have seen Wakanda, take it up as a challenge to fight for your ideal country and continent.
Elections are upon us in Nigeria. Take the chance to fight for your Wakanda. We can forge rapid and meaningful progress by getting leadership right.
You can do your part by getting your voter card ready. In your choice, try to look beyond today and play a part in charting a new course for a new Africa.
The story of Wakanda is a sad reminder of what should have been that is not. But who says it cannot be?
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