Since the release of Wakanda Forever, many people in Zambia and across the globe have made their way to cinemas to watch it.
I have also taken time to watch the film. It is insightful, thought provoking, evokes a mix of emotions, and captures the spirit of fighting and struggling for one’s nation. It equally sends a wave of sadness, especially with the mourning of Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman (T’Challa), who was initially supposed to be a member of the cast but died from colon cancer in 2020. However, all the characters play unique and fantastic roles.
While the movie has many catchy moments and storylines, what stood out for me was how the leaders in the world of Wakanda – a fictional African country – fight hard to protect their nation’s strategic mineral, vibranium, in the wake of King T’Challa’s death.
In the film, Wakanda’s economy is based on the production and uses of the fictitious metal, portrayed as strategic for 21st century technologies, an aspect that scientists may find fascinating. The movie also reveals women running the military and production sector of the economy, with roles played by Queen Ramonda, Shuri, Nakia and Okoye, the general of Dora Milaje.
We are taken on an intriguing journey in which Wakanda is under immense pressure from big powers that want to access its strategic mineral. There is a scene in what resembles the United Nations General Assembly, in which Queen Ramonda, mother of T’Chella and Shuri, exposes the West’s schemes, particularly those of France and the USA’s CIA, to attack Wakanda. The CIA and US Navy SEALs invade using a vibranium-detecting machine to locate potential deposits under water in Wakanda. Their mission is unsuccessful, though, because an expedition of water-breathing superhumans led by Namor – the mutant son of a human sea captain and a princess of the mythical undersea kingdom of Atlantis – attacks them. While Wakanda was not involved in the attacks, the CIA believes it was responsible.
For Wakanda, the emergence of Namor’s superhumans, who help the country expose the West’s ploy to detect and access vibranium, is seen as a cause for concern, realising that its national and military security has been compromised. So, not only is it presented with the West as a threat, but also from Namor, who confronts Wakanda’s leaders, presenting a serious challenge that results in a war leading to many deaths, including that of Queen Ramonda. Shuri fights to avenge the death of the queen – her mother – through her new leadership role as female Black Panther. In the end, Wakanda defeats Namor’s fighters, and the two parties decide for the sake of peace to form a strategic alliance to defend their interests against the West.
While the story of Wakanda is fictitious, it resonates well with aspects of our own country’s history and present-day dynamics. We also have strategic minerals, such as copper and cobalt, needed for development in the 21st century. Unlike in the Wakanda story, though, where its leaders are forming strategic partnerships and fighting to preserve the vibranium needed to develop Wakanda, what we have in Zambia are puppets, sell-outs.
President of the Socialist Party
(Image credit: IGN)