The movie’s attempt to depict a self-sufficient African society where people have dignity and power has a strong pull to the masses of African people who cry out for that type of liberation in real life. That’s why its not difficult to understand why the slogan “Wakanda forever” is maintaining such popularity across the globe.
The problem of course is Wakanda, the fictional home of the Black Panther and his people, doesn’t exist in real life Africa. In fact, for people who are legitimately concerned about the state of the real life Africa, the question looms as to why a fictional African homeland could create so much excitement for the children of Africa?
Of course, the answer to that question is that African people have suffered from colonialism, slavery, and neo-colonialism for over 500 years. Consequently, the truth about Africa’s glorious history has been buried under years of brutal lies and distortions designed to depict Africa and her children as ignorant, lazy, and incapable of making any type of productive contribution to this world we live in. As a result of this systemic propaganda war against Africa, millions of Africans today, regardless of where we live on Earth, have absolutely no desire to relate in any way to Africa. And why would our people want to relate to our homeland when all we have been taught about her is that people in Africa cannot feed themselves. That we cannot exist without destroying one another. And, that we are incapable of governing a society without the guidance of our great white fathers and mothers from Europe, Israel, and the U.S.
All people are organically connected to their homelands because our homelands produce our culture and our culture defines our existence. Without that, we are lost as human beings. Consequently, our people – who have been violently ripped from our African history and culture - yearn strongly for a connection to Mother Africa, but since we don’t understand how and why Africa ended up in the state she’s in currently, many of us prefer to ignore the realities of Africa today. Its much less painful for us to instead focus on creating and relating to a mythical homeland then dealing with the problems in the one that actually exists.
What all of this really says in a scientific and correct way is that when we project Wakanda, what we are doing is expressing our desire to see Africa united, liberated (and socialist). This is the vision we are really pursuing in Wakanda because that is the vision that creates our real life Wakanda.
We all know that we cannot expect anything if we are not willing to work and sacrifice for it. This is especially true for oppressed people. Our real life Wakanda isn’t going to fall from the sky and it isn’t going to come alive off the movie screen. Our real life Wakanda will become reality only when we are willing and ready to work for it. The good news is that the framework is already in place. Many people have already sacrificed to create the initial groundwork to carry us forward. The vision of people like Henry Sylvester Williams, Anna Julia Cooper, W.E.B. DuBois, Marcus Garvey, Amy Ashwood Garvey, Amy Jacque Garvey, George Padmore, Kwame Nkrumah, Sekou Ture, Patrice Lumumba, Imbalia Camara, Carmen Peirera, Mangaliso Sobukwe, Elizabeth Sibeko, David Sibeko, Malcolm X, Thomas Sankara, Kwame Ture, Muammar Quaddafi, and many others, speaks to that desire to see the achievement of our dignity. That real life Wakanda. That one, unified, socialist Africa. That Pan-Africanism.
Pan-Africanism, once manifested, is the solution to every problem facing African people regardless of where we live on the planet Earth. The problems of starvation? Pan-Africanism requires us to utilize the over 600 million hectares of arable land in Africa that is currently being un-utilized, to grow food that will feed the African masses. Lack of potable water? Pan-Africanism requires us to cultivate our lands, build necessary dams, (as was done by Libya in the Sahara before imperialism sabotaged that effort), and produce water for everyone in Africa. Police terrorism? The achievement of one unified, socialist, Africa, converts Africa from a dependent place to an independent entity that must be respected. The accompanying respect removes the disrespect that permits state terrorists to murder Africans without impunity in the Americas, Caribbean, Europe, and Canada. Poverty? Pan-Africanism nationalizes Africa’s vast mineral wealth and cultivates that wealth to eliminate employment issues and lack of opportunities for our people.
Pan-Africanism equals dignity for African people. The type of dignity we can achieve in real life. The type of dignity we are looking for through a movie. We want it. We need it. We deserve it. The question is are we willing to work for it? Do we desire to create the conditions that will generate true happiness for our people or are we content to live with the temporary upliftment this movie will provide us?
When we decide we are willing to work to achieve our real life dignity, than that will require us to stop complaining about our problems. We will need to stop fantasizing about solutions to our problems. We will need to make a choice to do what those ancestors named previously did. We will need to join organizations that are working to build fighting capacity for our people. We will need to make a commitment to build those organizations and make them stronger than they were when we joined them. We will need to commit to hang in there when it gets difficult. We will need to pledge to learn how to work with each other, no matter what. We will need to agree to refuse to give up. All these attributes are what’s required to make our real life Africa the place that we aspire for in that movie.
Ernesto “Che” Guevara, a man who did much to contribute to Africa, once said that “revolution must be guided by love.” That means when you decide to sacrifice for your people, you do so because you love your people. You do so because you love justice. It’s that level of consciousness that makes us do the things mentioned in the previous paragraph. And, if we are serious about winning then we will need to do all of those things.
We have proven that we can get dressed up in the finest African attire to go see a movie. We have proven that we can communicate far and wide, on international levels, about that movie. Now, its time for us to prove to ourselves that we understand that Kwame Nkrumah, Sekou Ture, and all those other Africans, had a vision of African dignity long before Marvel Corporation knew how to spell Africa. When we begin to manifest this, that real life Wakanda we are searching for will exist in Rwanda, Luanda, and the rest of the real live African world.