"Wakanda will no longer watch from the shadows. We cannot. We must not. We will work to be an example of how we, as brothers and sisters on this earth, should treat each other. Now, more than ever…" Those are the words of the now late Chadwick Boseman, as King T'Challa in Black Panther. Wakanda was me. Wakanda was every black person, young or old who was beaming with pride as result of the amazing work of Ryan Coogler. And now more than ever, we hope that we will have more black heroes. May the global movie industry honour Boseman's...
"Wakanda will no longer watch from the shadows. We cannot. We must not. We will work to be an example of how we, as brothers and sisters on this earth, should treat each other. Now, more than ever…"

Those are the words of the now late Chadwick Boseman, as King T'Challa in Black Panther.

Wakanda was me. Wakanda was every black person, young or old who was beaming with pride as result of the amazing work of Ryan Coogler. And now more than ever, we hope that we will have more black heroes. May the global movie industry honour Boseman's life by ensuring that he wasn't the last black superhero. He graced our screens with so much grace in his character. He channeled "ubuntu" so well.

I still get goosebumps when I reminisce about that special day in 2018 when the 28-year-old me rushed to a cinema in Pretoria to watch this special movie encompassing the first black superheroes. All my life, I haven't watched any of Batman, Iron Man, Spider-Man, Thor, X-Man or Super Man movies (animation or not).

And no, I was not a "woke" child. I simply never found them appealing to me at all. I was never tempted or curious enough to fall for them. I simply know who they were and that is good enough. However, the adult me was excited about the reality of a first black superhero in a movie. I didn't just watch the movie once, I watched it in 2D and went back again to watch it in 3D.

Boseman's character in Wakanda reflected so much about the ubuntu that is missing in today's day to day living. Even though I didn't know him personally, I learned that he played roles that reflected or fulfilled his purpose. He didn't choose a career or job. He always chose his purpose. He chose a purpose he lived and fulfilled in his 43 years on earth.

Death robs us of so much. However, it also gives us a chance to fully appreciate life in its fullness.

In the case of Boseman, I was touched and moved by the passing of someone I din't know personally. Such is the power of story-telling and movies. They have the ability to get one so attached to characters they don't know. Perhaps I was hoping to see him again in Black Panther 2.0. Maybe I had good wishes of seeing this gracious character playing a similar role sometime soon.

Again, I sympathise with the many young black children who insisted on getting anything and everything about King T'Challa, from costume to mask. They could finally see themselves in a superhero with the same skin pigmentation.

The pictures of their toy superheroes collection doing a guard of honour for the fallen black superhero are the most beautiful snaps I have seen recently circulating on social media platforms.

In another powerful quote from his movie character King T'Challa, he said, "In my culture, death is not the end. It's more of a stepping off point. You reach out with both hands and Bast and Sekhmet, they lead you into green veld where… you can run forever."

And that is Boseman's life, it will run forever. The movie character you played transcended the big screens. Our African culture teaches us about ancestry. May you join the African ancestors and keep on being a king. The prayer is that you keep watching over your loved ones.

Chadwick epitomised what it meant to be young, black and gifted. Black, he was. Young, he was. Gifted, he definitely was.

May Boseman's wonderful soul rest in peace. Wakanda Forever!

Wakanda Forever! The Black Panther was a character that transcended the big screens


Kabelo Chabalala.

  1. Kabelo Chabalala is the founder and chairperson of the Young Men Movement (YMM), an organisation that focuses on the reconstruction of the socialisation of boys to create a new cohort of men. Email, kabelo03chabalala@gmail.com ; Twitter, @KabeloJay; Facebook, Kabelo Chabalala

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