JOHANNESBURG – “Black Panther” has burst onto screen in Africa, providing a powerful response to President Trump’s unfortunate remarks on the continent.
As the red carpet in South Africa swirled with stunning outfits and exclamations in the local isiXhosa language used in the film’s Wakanda Kingdom, actor John Kani scoffed at the views of the US president, as several African countries have openly despised. (Oscar-winning actress Lupita Nyong’o simply said, “No comment.”)
South African actor Kani, like many at the Johannesburg premiere on Friday night, expressed pride in seeing an Afrofuturist society that celebrates traditional cultures and dreams of what can be the world’s second most populous continent.
“This time the sun is now shining on Africa,” he said. “This film came at the right time. We struggle to find exemplary leaders and role models… so when you see the Black Panther as a young boy and he takes that mask off, you’re like, “Oh my God, he looks like me. He is African and I am African. Now we can admire someone who is African.
Actress Danai Gurira, who grew up mainly in Zimbabwe, added: “Bring this movie home, that’s it.”
The film opened in other major economic powers in Africa, where a growing middle class flocked to IMAX screenings and shared vibrant footage from the opening night on social media.
“The African culture highlighted in the film is so rich that I feel proud to be black. Love it, ”said Liz Muthoni after a screening in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi. “I can watch it over and over again.”
“Black Panther” was screened a few days ago in the town of Kisumu, in western Kenya, where Nyong’o’s father, Anyang, is the local governor.
“Sometimes we think we have two choices to make in Africa,” he wrote this month in The Star newspaper. “A choice: we maintain our traditions and cultures and stay behind forever. Second choice: modernize ourselves by westernizing ourselves and forgetting our cultural traditions which, by their nature, we think, are rooted in the past. The experience of the Wakanda people teaches us otherwise.
In the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, “Black Panther” is sold out five times a day in the only cinema showing the film.
“Cinephiles appreciate the African heritage part of the film. It is also unique for us because Ethiopia is often mentioned alongside black power and black movements as the only nation not colonized by Western powers, ”said Elias Abraha, the cinema’s chief operating officer. “There are people who changed their flight plans just to watch the movie.”
Some Ethiopian fans quickly changed their Facebook profile photos and expressed their adoration.
“Tears are streaming down my face as I write this,” said a Facebook user called LadyRock Maranatha. “Black Panther was basically a huge roller coaster of emotions, adventure and most of all the affirmation of how I had felt since I left my country for Cambridge and came back. I cried for my people and I felt immense pride to be Ethiopian and especially AFRICAN We are truly resilient and beautiful.
As the audience exited the screening in Johannesburg, morale was high.
“Totally amazed. I got emotional, “said reality TV star Blue Mbombo, who admitted that before the film she thought expectations were” overdone. “But she praised her use of cultural touches like the basotho covers and called the use of the isiXhosa language “very humiliating”.
Others have considered the American side of the story. “An African American returning to Africa is also a nice reminder of his heritage,” said Ayanda Sidzatane. She called the film great. “We knew it would be cool, but not like that. “
Some anticipated a surge of interest from African Americans, even brazenly. “Now I know Black Panther makes Africa cool… But please don’t come to Lagos… It’s overcrowded,” Nigerian artist Arinze Stanley tweeted of the most populous city in the world. continent.
As acclaimed Ghanaian blogger Ameyaw Debrah said on social media, “What will #BlackPanther make the world think of Africa now? “