It is now what, two weeks since the premiere of the Black Panther? Well, over in Uganda, the film is still a red-hot trending; it is reported folks who had already watched the movie are still buying tickets for another round. And why not? The fictional land Wakanda is technically their land in more than just one way.
For starters, the name Wakanda is not something new in the East Africa region. There are some communities (the Luhya people of Kenya for one) who due to mother-tongue accent call Waganda (people from Uganda) Wakanda.
Why Uganda can see so much of themselves in Black Panther than any other African community
Let us not forget the fact that two actors in this predominantly black cast superhero movie by Marvel are actually from Uganda; Daniel Kaluuya and Florence Kasumba. Some scenes in the movie were shot on location from Bwindi Impenetrable Forest national park and Mount Rwenzori in southwestern parts of Uganda.
Other scenes, like the stunning waterfalls, are reminiscent of the Victoria Falls of the Zambezi River at the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe. The spacecraft flying over the modern metropolis look like tribal masks from some African communities.
For a Ugandan watching Black Panther, some scenes look like a place you have been to multiple of times. While for the rest of us, it is just another futuristic land cooked up inside a Hollywood warehouse by the Marvel team. One might even argue the movie just resonates much better with the Ugandans than the rest of the world; that is debatable though!
Admittedly, not very many people know of the word Waganda, except for the Swahili speaking people around East Africa, but even then, you got to admit there is some rhyme going on between the word Uganda and Wakanda. For the Swahili speaking people, there is no rhyming between Wakanda and Waganda, it is technically the same word, but a terrible failure at hiding it.
And back to the Waganda (Ugandans) playing in the movie. Is it a coincidence that Kaluuya character is named W’kabi (read Wakabi)? I think not, and many people in Uganda will agree. Kaluuya, though born in British, had the Ugandan seal on the ‘kanzu’ he wore to the movie premiere.
Hello World! Come visit Wakanda land right here in Uganda
It would appear Ugandans are riding this ‘thing’ all the way to the bank. The striking similarities between the fictional land of Wakanda in Black Panther movie, to the real-world Uganda the country has made some Ugandans take to social media and woo the world to come for vacation. ‘Come for a vacation in Uganda, and see Wakanda in real life,’ that seems to be the tagline.
Black Panther is one of the very few movies from the West (read Hollywood) that cast the continent of Africa and pan-Africanism in a positive light. It is little wonder Africans are in love with the movie, with Ugandans taking an extra love for it.
No hard feelings from Nollywood
Most movies set in Africa from the West often features a disease-plagued and war-torn continent that is suffering and crippled by poverty. Nigeria, home to Nollywood (the biggest film hub in Africa), also welcomed the movie. Nollywood stars and fans were seen dressed in traditional robes, gowns and some wearing the futuristic garments in the film were seen entering movie theatres on its Black Panther premiere.