Disclaimer: Daringly, writing about a trending topic has met me a second time, and I know I really should let everyone enjoy Black Panther in peace, but Alethea’s Mind would not rest until I wrote this. So forgive me, and enjoy the read. There are no spoilers too.
Last Thursday, Boo of life and I finally went to see a movie together after almost 3 years. Shocking huh? Yup. Thanks to our darling Drama Queen and Bumble Bee. Even though I know I shouldn’t be blaming them, I just can’t help it. Their arrival into our lives is the only thing that changed since the last time we went to see a movie together. Touché! So as the topic would suggest, we saw the now trending Black Panther, and as the reviews have given away, it was a good movie. I think the best part for us was being the only Africans in the cinema that day. We were privy to all the inside jokes the movie had to offer, and we laughed to our hearts’ content, even though most of those times we were the only ones laughing.
Of course, it’s hard to pass on mentioning the highlight of the movie which has now graced so many trending hashtags: WAKANDA, the fictional country in Africa that had the strongest metal on earth as a mineral resource, and harnessed it for their own good. The country that never gave aid nor received aid. The country that was self-sustaining. The country that was way ahead of others in technological advancements. Oh, Wakanda. The country we all now wished we came from.
Oh well. Let’s dream on.
Wakanda will only continue to exist in our dreams while we wake up to the reality of what’s really on ground: The continent of Africa with nothing like Wakanda in it! 😓
When I think about Africa, my heart bleeds out from all the holes punctured by my thoughts. It’s as though it wears a curse as a cloak, dancing around the fires of ineptitude and mediocrity, to the beat of the drums that the rest of the world is playing. And in all honesty, this should never be the case. Because unlike little Wakanda, the entire continent of Africa is home to approximately 30 percent of the earth’s remaining mineral resources, with large parts of its terrain chock-full with wild life and breathtaking plant life. According to Dr. Ravinder Rena, a former professor of Economics at the Eritrea Institute of Technology:
Africa possesses 99 percent of the world’s chrome resources, 85 percent of its platinum, 70 percent of its tantalite, 68 percent of its cobalt, and 54 percent of its gold, among others. It has significant oil and gas reserves. Nigeria and Libya are two of the leading oil producing countries in the world. Further, Africa is the home to timber, diamonds, and bauxite deposits.
How about the vastly untapped agricultural potential of the entire continent? With an expanse of rain forests and lush lands, it’s quite difficult to understand why a good majority of the ads for charities portray the continent as a dry terrain, unfit to produce anything, covered in famine and diseases, and surely unable to survive without your £3 donation.
And then my wandering mind goes to the vast human resources. With an estimate of 16.64% of the total world population, and the average age of 19.4 years, there’s a thriving group of people with hands, legs and brains living in the continent. Harnessed? Take a wild guess. Instead, many of the great minds of Africa are shipped out to places where these minds can be utilised to build a greater society. And quite unfortunately, when one of these minds make a breakthrough, Africa is quick to claim it as one of its own, even when Africa did nothing for the mind in itself except teach it to hustle for usefulness elsewhere. But trust the ‘elsewhere’, because when this mind fails to achieve anything, or the mind has become depraved and is drawn to violence in any form, this mind is quickly linked to its heritage: Africa.
So what can we say is the reason why the continent of Africa has continually remained the poster child for poverty and corruption?
I know I’m making a heck of a generalisation. And I can imagine the comments with the same excuse for ages: “Oh please, there are so many countries in Africa doing good things”, yeah, like Wakanda. I hear you. But when will the number of those countries be enough to wipe away the smear of a reputation associated with the continent as a whole? When will Africans come together to put history to shame and make a name for itself in spite of whatever history they have written on Africa’s behalf? When will Africa walk into true freedom from oppression and slavery of the mind and heart? Where is the light at the end of this tunnel?
Africa has been manipulated for far too long. Africa has been stolen from for far too long. Africa has been lied to for far too long. Africa has been trod upon for far too long.
And the time to rise up is now. To rise up to the one thing that now unites us: WAKANDA.
It was such a joy to see Africans from all over the world trooping to cinemas in their African attires just to watch a movie. It was amazing that something as simple as a ‘black superhero’ could awaken the zeal in Africans to identify with their roots in spite of who didn’t think it appropriate. It’s even more interesting to see #WakandaForever splattered all around my timeline on Facebook, you would think someone had started a Wakanda challenge. And yes, I know: Wakanda is a creation of one who isn’t even remotely African, but the fact that your alarm clock is Japanese doesn’t mean it won’t wake you up in the morning as long as you’re alive. You hear it ring, you respond and you GET UP.
Thank you, Wakanda. Because even though you do not exist, you have begun a revolution in the hearts of Africans to believe that you are a possibility. That a time will come when the resources of Africa will be utilised to make Africa great again. That a time will come when the people of Africa will unite with one voice to silence the many voices of oppressors and slave owners. That a time will come when in the shadows of Africa’s deep forests will lie civilisations that surpass the ones of old, breaking boundaries in science and technology and research and governance. A time when Africa will become self-sustaining and void of aid-vouchers. An Africa where life is valued and is the benchmark for peace. The Africa that will replace the name Wakanda, and we will all be proud associates.
And it only takes you.
Yes YOU 👇🏽
Doing your part to be the best ambassador you can be for your country and your continent. Standing your ground against those who would rather be a nuisance to the progress of the future. Speaking up for the oppressed and speaking against the oppressors. Working hard to be at the top of your field, whatever your field might be. Ignoring the little things that divide us and embracing the greater ones that unite us: our humanity. And hoping. Never letting hope die. They think we are not able. They think we’re too selfish to look beyond our front doors. They think we’re myopic and think less of our generations to come. But we will PROVE. THEM. WRONG.
So what do you say, Africa?
It’s a deal. Let’s shake to it.