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Black Panther: A Love Letter to the African Culture

Friday, 16 March 2018


If there's one thing Black Panther succeeded at doing, aside from smashing records and rescuing our girls, has to be reigniting the appreciation of the African Culture. From the tradition to the mode of dressing and language. Wakanda felt like a real place for most African viewers.
Hey there guys! I'm sure everyone, their mama and pet dog has heard about the ground-breaking movie, Black Panther. This week, movie blogger Leroy Mowete is taking over the blog and giving us an in-depth rundown of the diversity and richness of the African culture celebrated in the movie.

For more related posts and movie reviews, check out Leroy's blog here



Language

Wakanda might be a dream, some of its iconic features are inspired and based on those of real countries.
These days most protagonists, have the ability to speak Russian, Spanish or even Dothraki. It was refreshing to hear the South African isiXhosa as the official Wankadan dialect. This stroke of genius gave Black Panther its authentic look.
However, the ancient Nigerian language, Nsibidi, (which uses symbols instead of words or sounds) was adapted and updated by Hannah Beachler (the movie's production designer) to create the written forms of the language seen in the movie.

T'Challa's throne room (credit: Film Frame/Marvel Studios)

Streets of wakanda (credit: Marvel/YouTube)

Location

At various points of the movie, we get to see sections of Wakanda. But our first sight of the fictional Nation comes when Okoye, Nakia, and T'challa fly over the countryside. And it's a sight to behold.


Credit: Marvel Studios via: atlasofwonders

This beautiful scenery, (along with other aerial shots in the movie) were taken in South Africa, Zambia, and Uganda (the Rwenzori Mountains and Bwindi Impenetrable National park).


Tribes and Cultures

Five tribes make up the country of Wakanda, with each one having a unique identity, purpose and dressing. And through this, they showcase the culture of several ethnic groups across Africa.

The Jabari tribe

The infamous M'baku (the Gorilla) hails from the Jabari tribe. Secluded from the rest of Wakanda, the Jabari live in the mountains and worship the white ape deity Hanuman. But they're just as evolved as the rest of Wakanda, possessing the Jabari wood capable of going toe to toe with Vibranium. And while their traditions weren’t explored in the film, their presence was felt.


M’baku of the Jabari tribe (credit: Marvel Studios)

The Border tribe

The border tribe protect the borders of Wakanda. Although they might appear as cattle herders, their Fierce leader W'kabi and his Battle rhinos are not as loving. Their Basotho blankets, (which generate force fields in the movie) originate from the Lesotho people in southern Africa.

Basotho Blanket (credit:Twitter)


The River tribe

The lip plates of the River tribe might not have stolen the show like the Jabari, but they stood out. While many cultures use them, the Surma and Mursi tribes in Ethiopia are best known for them.

Mursi and Surma Lip Plates (credit: Marvel Studios)

The Mining tribe

Tasked with mining the country's most valuable resource (Vibranium), the mining tribe holds a powerful spot in the country. The mining elder is shown with the distinctive red earthy colors of the Himba people, found in Northeast Namibia. known for applying "otjize", (a red earthy paste) to their hair and skin.

The Otjize (credit: Marvel Studios)

The Merchant tribe

The Merchant tribe wears the Tuareg Scarfs of the Tuareg people, indigenous of the north and west Africa (and it looks dope AF). They maintain the economic stability of Wakanda.

Tuareg scarfs (credit: Marvel Studios)


                                                                   The Dora Milaje

While not a tribe, this fierce (and somewhat intimidating) group of women are the personal bodyguards of the king. They wear the Ndebele Neck rings of south Ndebele people of Zimbabwe and South Africa. With other parts of their costumes emulating styles of the Massai people in southern Kenya.

The Dora Milaje (credit: Marvel Studios)


So there’s your history lesson, straight from the heart of Wakanda!
If you still haven’t watched Black Panther, run to the nearest cinema RIGHT NOW.





Leroy Mowete is currently in his final year of studying Geology in the University of Lagos. When he is not making movie reviews on his website, he's playing videogames, going for a swim or catching up on his favorite TV shows. For related posts, visit Leroy's blog here









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1 comment on "Black Panther: A Love Letter to the African Culture"
  1. A nice piece by Leroy, he's such a good analyst. This is an insightful post.

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