Black Panther: The Allure of African Supremacism

Black Panther
Marvel's Black Panther

All this hype about a superhero movie? Well, Black Panther is not just about a superhero, it’s about an African superhero, a character that portrays "African Excellence", a strong and intelligent leader and the world's most technologically advanced nation.

The Black Panther movie is a real eye-opener and it raises a lot of socio-political questions in Africa. For the African community, it represents a step in the fight against the de facto white supremacy and also more aptly, it showcases African resources being stolen to enrich our colonizers. Wakanda’s economy represents everything African economies can learn from.

Black panther's wakanda location in africa
Wakanda's location

The fictional Kingdom of Wakanda is a small nation in North East Africa. For centuries they have remained in isolation and are now considered the most advanced nation on earth. Its capital is Birnin Zana which is also the largest city.

The Great African History

The Great Ghana Empire
The Great Ghana Empire

Contrary to popular belief (usually borne out of ignorance), greatness has always been part of Africa and has never left. Africa has always been the forebearer of modern civilization and is believed to be the birth-place of humanity. Historically, African culture and civilizations are more advanced in contrast to other primitive society. [Sic] -- Williams, Chancellor (1987). Destruction of Black Civilizations. Third World Press. Pp. 61-63. ISBN 9780883780305

The earliest scientific recorded history of human civilization arose in the Kingdom of Kush (present-day Egypt, Sudan and South Sudan.) It is no surprise that the Kingdom of Wakanda sits at the very same area the first civilized men sprung forth. 

Ancient Egypt, for example, is a canonical example of early civilization with highly advanced metallurgical tools at that time however, recent archaeological discovery reveals that metalworking in West Africa has been as early as 2,500 BC at Egaro west of the Termit in Niger but iron smelting was developed in the area between Lake Chad between 1,000 AD 600 BC long before Egypt started utilizing ironworks. Astonishingly, the earliest use of iron in any form can be found in the NOK culture in Jos Plateau in 500 BC. 

Another great and powerful albeit little known African civilization is the Kingdom of Aksum which ruled modern-day Eritrea, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Sudan, Egypt, Yemen and Saudi Arabia. In 274 AD, Aksum was regarded as one of the four great powers alongside Persia, Rome and China. The kingdom of Aksum began minting its own currency as early as the 3rd century. Other great civilizations worth mentioning includes;

  • The great Ashanti Empire
  • Mali Empire
  • Benin Empire
  • Kingdom of Kongo
  • Kanem-Bornu Empire
  • Sokoto Caliphate
  • Et al…
Ancient African Civilizations
Ancient African Civilizations

African Cultural Renaissance

From ancient Egypt and Ethiopia being the first civilized society in the world. How did Africa lose that position?

There is now a new self –awareness of the current political, economic and social structure of Africa. A reawakening of cultural pride and dignity.

After watching the movie, young Africans are now asking the very crucial questions;

  • ” What could have been if…?”,
  • ”why is it so….?”
  • “What could be done…?

These are weighty questions Africans need to deal with great urgency.

Young African across the world heading to watch Marvel's Black Panther movie
Young Africans across the world heading to watch Marvel's Black Panther movie

Africa: Lessons from Wakanda

Resource Control
Although fictional, Wakanda’s economy revolves round Vibranium a meteoric metallic ore from which its advanced technology was developed from.  Even though highly sought-after, the ancient defenders of Wakanda protected its precious resources from being exploited by foreign invaders.

Wakandan Capital Birnin Zana
Wakandan Capital Birnin Zana

Unlike our African forebears who stood by and watched foreigners loot our collective natural resources like Oil, Uranium, Precious stones (Diamond, Gold etc.) et al. The same is still being played out today in various African countries whereby selfish and greedy leaders allow Western nations to interfere and manipulate in order to lay their hands on the nations riches. Blood Diamonds in Sierra Leone comes to mind. Other examples include Ivory smuggling in Central Africa, Looting of the ancient Kingdom of Benin (Dahomey) in Nigeria by the British. 

We Africans are still paying dearly for the past mistakes of our ancestors.

Technological Revolution
Remaining in a self-imposed idyll, Wakanda’s technology was developed entirely independent from that of the rest of the world. Their computer technology is very advanced and near nil impossible to penetrate however, the Wakanda’s have continually studied outside technologies and have mastered its use and exploitation.  They possess advanced multipurpose communication devices like the Kimoyo Beads and the Kimoyo Card. 

Kimoyo beads
Kimoyo beads

Similar to how the Peoples Republic of China (PRC) isolated itself from the rest of the world a few decades ago and has since promoted the use of indigenous technology. Although living in isolation has its own downsides However, China is currently enjoying the benefits such as exponential growth in the economy, health sector, defence sector, aviation and many others.

Wakanda’s hi-tech products are used by Wakanda’ and were developed in Wakanda by its innovators, scientist and technologist. Unlike in Africa were homegrown technologies are neglected with little or no actual support from the governments. Relying on imported technologies which are mostly unsuited or comes with an exorbitant price tag.

Wakanda has a council of tribal elders; known as the Taifa Ngao who helps with advising the leader on the day to day operation of the nation. Unfortunately, African leaders parade themselves as omnicompetent and all-powerful without requiring any assistance or advice thus they perform below par of their western counterpart.

The leader T’Challa is both strong and intelligent (Academically and Psychologically), he has a PhD in Physics from Oxford University and has pioneered many cutting edge technology; he developed his own field of science know as Shadow Physics which combines Quantum Science with Ancient Alchemy.

He is the religious leader and also the Commander-in-chief of the nation and puts the country’s interest first over all else in contrast to what we currently have whereby African leaders prefer to sit-tight and rule for as long as possible despite public opinion and support being against them.

Military and Security
Wakanda has its own intelligence agency known as P.R.I.D.E (Princess Regent Intelligence Division Executives) which operates across the globe and is considered as good as the Israeli Mossad and better than the United States CIA.

Wakandan Air Guard fighter jets
Wakandan Air Guard fighter jets

Despite being a pacifist in nature, Wakanda still grasps the need for a comprehensive defence architecture. It possesses the most advanced military powers known to man with sophisticated military equipment and weapons to defend the homeland from foreign aggression. All this was made possible through the use of its advanced technological base.

Several African militaries continue to suffer from lack of government support in its operations such as the Nigerian Air Force that has continuously operated outdated and obsolete aerial equipment to the detriment of its national sovereignty.

Medicine (Health sector)
Wakanda has a universal public health system paid largely from taxation. Its entire population has equal unrestricted access to health care services. From birth, a citizen is provided a lifetime worth of medical assistance. The country has pioneered various revolutionary medical solutions. Wakanda’s citizenry has one of the highest life expectancy rates on earth.

In Africa today, political leaders prefer to travel to Western nations to get access to better health care when they need it shunning local healthcare facilities and clinics. Africa has one of the poorest health sectors on the planet, half of the African population still lack access to proper health services. The various African government who are saddled with the responsibility is also facing challenges like; corruption, limited funds, workers shortages, counterfeit drugs etc… 

It blends modernity and culture seamlessly and Shun vices like human and sex trafficking. Africa today is plagued by needless vices due to worsening economic conditions.

Although Wakanda is unreal, however it does represents the aspirations of a better African Continent and pointing out the mistakes made by our forebears. It goes without saying that if Africa puts her resources to good use, we’ll be well on our way to catching up with the rest of the world. 

Ekene Lionel

Techy, Futurist, Award-winning defense technology writer.