“Black Consciousness Revived and The Quest For A New Future”
One of the major themes of the 2018 Marvel superhero film Black Panther was based on the idea of identity and what it means to be an Afrikan. The film was a huge success in galvanising Afrikans around the world in pride of their being and for their homeland. My identity has always been under constant threat of mental colonisation by Western media, but after watching the film I have a newfound vision for Afrika's future. The revolution has to start within first before it can take effect across the continent, and so in an act of radical resistance to colonialism I have decided to change my name. Formerly known as Thomas, named after my great grandfather, my new name now includes the prefix Motaung. My former name by itself is a byproduct of colonialism introduced by Christian missionaries. The missionaries made it a culture for new converts to take on their Christian names through baptism while they never adopted Afrikan names. I am a proud Mosotho by birthright from the Bataung clan in Lesotho. Growing up my grandmother only used to address me by my clan name and call me Tau or Motaung (the Sotho word for Lion), not to mention that the Lion King was my favourite movie during those formative years. My father was born in South Afrika during the apartheid era, and through his birth I am afforded dual citizenship as a South Afrikan. Many years before colonisation however, South Afrika and Lesotho were one territory and existed without borders. Both South Afrika and Lesotho were highly inspirational in the afrofuturistic imaginary of Wakanda, the fictional Afrikan country which is home to the Black Panther that has never been conquered or colonised. The film's director Ryan Coogler was specifically inspired by a trip to Lesotho in his representation of Wakanda - the border tribes of the country even wear Basotho blankets and live in similar terrain to the mountain kingdom. Similarly to how the Wakandans honour the black panther as their totem, the Bataung clan honours the lion as its totem. The threat to our identity and dignity as Afrikans today is still under grave danger due to the unresolved legacies of colonialism which continue to permeate our society. And so in my attempt to further subvert colonialism I have also decided to take on the role of a decolonial activist and help advance Afrika by appropriating Wakanda as inspiration for the future that we can build for our great continent. The Afrika I envision is a virtual Pan Afrikan commonwealth which every Afrikan can benefit from that can also be a blessing to the greater global village. This is the revolution I am campaigning for, a united, raceless, DECOLONIZED Afrika!
Black Panther is equally relevant to South Africa as it is to Lesotho because Wakanda is made up of several South African tribes, not to mention that the national language of Wakanda is IsiXhosa. Furthermore, king T’Chaka is played by South Afrikan actors. South Afrika’s colonial past is woven into the greater narrative of the Black Panther’s heritage. Marvel’s 2010 Black Panther animation clearly communicated that South Afrika and Wakanda share the same imperial enemy that wants to keep Afrika subjugated under white supremacy. As we continue to mentally emancipate ourselves and our land from the shackles of colonialism, it is of utmost importance that we work towards creating a commonwealth space that is truly inclusive in every sense; socially, politically, and economically. This is a vision that I am certain Steve Biko would endorse, after all, he did not believe in minority rights because he believed that everyone in society should have equal standing and value. Wakanda is a land of plentiful resources whose tribes come together under a common vision of shared prosperity. It is a place where women's strength is celebrated and their value to society is acknowledged. On the surface level it appears as an undeveloped third world country but beneath the surface it is a technological marvel. Fortunately, we happen to be alive during a fourth industrial revolution that can help bring this vision to fruition. This revolution can enable us Afrikans to truly build the real Wakanda, a connected commonwealth that is powered by tech while remaining true to the moral philosophy of Ubuntu which keeps our humanity and togetherness intact. This platform is the first step towards realizing this vision and will also function as a space for Afrikans to exchange beneficial insights and information about communications technologies that can keep our communities connected as we continue to build a better future for Afrika.
Aluta Continua, Izwe Lethu I Afrika!
Motaung Thomas Mofolo,