Black Panther: We are our own rescue!
Over the past few weeks, Black Panther has smashed box-office records and also sparked a cultural movement across the world.
Just as the euphoria and excitement around the epic movie was reaching an alarming crescendo, I decided to take a break from my nagging and busy schedule for a moment of pleasure and entertainment.
Little did I know that my decision to go watch this much-talked about movie in Ventura Cinema Hall, somewhere in Ibadan, would be an eye-opening adventure.
Black Panther is not just an epic movie; it is studded with life-changing messages. Was I entertained? Sure! But there are depths in this movie that only a diagnostic eye can see. It is actually an eye-opening movie for a continent that has been plagued by identity crisis, leadership failure and bastardisation of mineral and natural resources.
The way Africans are treated in the world is actually a reflection of our own failure to project ourselves in a positive light.
Fela Durotoye, a dynamic leadership coach and public speaker, once said: “Ordinary citizens of a great nation will forever be treated better than successful citizens of a failed country.”
The movie exudes a lot about the African heritage- our culture, courage, strength, resilience and tenacity, unlike morally deficit shows.
T’Challa, the King of Wakanda, rises to the throne in the isolated, technologically advanced African nation, but his claim is challenged by a vengeful outsider, who was a childhood victim of T’Challa’s father’s mistake.
One of the things that fascinated me most about the Black Panther is the emphasis on character-based leadership, something that has become a relic of the past in the present Africa.
In a continent where there is a dearth of character-based leadership, it has become imperative that we renew the need for leaders that are not only competent, but also have character.
There are a lot of lessons in this article, not just only for Africa, but also for personal development.
What We Need Is Not Out There; It Is In Us
Helen Keller once said: “What I am looking for is not out there; it is in me.”
Though Wakanda may be a fictional African nation, but the truth is that there is always a Wakanda in all of us. We must believe totally that we carry within us a special form of currency that cannot be devalued. The ability to look inward and discover the treasure within is the most liberating force any one can ever possess.
Wakanda’s vibranium bears a great resemblance to many of the mineral and natural resources that abound in Africa. Instead of harmonising our resources to fuel development in Africa, they are used to fuel and lubricate the engines of corruption.
No One Is Coming To Save Africa; We Are Our Own Rescue
Our major problem in Africa is that we are always looking to the wrong places for help. The greatest threat to the African continent is the belief that someone else will save it.
Africans must take ownership of their future. United Nations cannot save Africa; UNICEF must not be the hope of the African child. European Union will not save Africa. IMF and World Bank cannot take Africa out of poverty.
We must stop acting in manners and ways in which the world continues to see us as liabilities and beggars. Western aids and interventions will not rescue Africa; we are our own rescue!
Your Dreams Are Valid
Where there is no faith in the future, there is no power in the present. Dreaming that Africa will one day become great is not just a lofty dream; it is possible.
Black Panther epitomises the fact that our dreams are valid. We must never allow our doubts to betray our dreams.
Rodney White said: “It costs nothing to dream and everything not to.”
You Always Have Something To Offer
Africa is blessed with innumerable natural resources, but it is a pity that the resources that are meant to enrich the continent are now being used by our leaders to fuel sophisticated corruption.
There is no poverty in Africa; it is the greed of the leaders that has brought us to where we are today.
Mahatma Gandhi once said: “The world has enough for everyone’s need, but not enough for everyone’s greed.”
No one is empty. No continent is empty. Africa is endowed with many natural resources.
That Something Works Doesn’t Mean It Can’t Be Improved Upon
One of the statements that caught my attention early in this epic film was: “Just because something works doesn’t mean it can’t be improved.”
I have always believed that life is simply a series of adjustments and improvements. The Japanese economy was revolutionised after the devastating Second World War by the Japanese culture, called Kaizen, which is a culture of continuous and consistent improvement of processes.
The never-ending task of self-improvement is the panacea to mediocrity and it is a culture that has suffered the most in the African continent.
Africans In Diaspora Must Return To Develop The Continent
The king’s sister has much of western education, but she returned home to use it to bless Wakanda. Princess Shuri was a central force in Wakanda’s evolution as a tech-advanced nation.
People that don’t know their roots normally return back home as invaders and wasters. Africans must educate their children and grandchildren in foreign land about their roots and duty. We are in dire need of Africans in the Diaspora that will help change the situation in the continent.
We must all come back to rebuild Africa. This not a plea; it is a duty.
You Can’t Influence The World By Living In Isolation
We are living in a global world. Africa cannot develop in isolation. If Africa will still be relevant in the future, then our target should be to streamline our local and indigenous goals to align with global standards.
Globalisation is not just a tool for socialising with the world, it also a veritable way of transforming it.
Don’t Be Defined By The Mistakes Of Your Ancestors
Bruce Lee once said: “Mistakes are always forgivable, if one has the courage to admit them.”
One of the major turning points in the movie was when the beautiful Nakia encouraged the young king not to be defined by the mistakes of his father. It is no doubt that Africa is where it is today because of the mistakes of past leaders, but we must not allow their mistakes to determine our future.
King T’Challa’s father made a very big mistake by trying to conceal the death of his brother by his own hand. This singular act led to a chain reaction that later sent the vengeful Erik Killmonger (T’Challa’s cousin) on a destructive mission.
STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering And Mathematics)
STEM is central to the technology advancement of any nation. The more we trivialise STEM, the farther we will be from becoming an industrial hub and technology haven.
Many countries have actually used STEM to step up. Countries, such as Japan, China, Canada and United Arab Emirates (UAE) are rising astronomically on the wings of STEM.
If Africa will stop being appendages to foreign nations, then our leaders must invest immensely in STEM.
Never Neglect Parental Responsibilities
In a deep conversation between King T’Challa and the spirit of his dead father in a place that seems like the spirit world, his father asked a deep question that every parent must answer: “A man that has not prepared his own children for his death has failed as a father. Have I ever failed you?”
Dereliction of parental duties can lead to the failure of a generation. The task before parents is not just nurturing our children, but preparing the next generation.
Women Are Central To Africa’s Development
Black Panther conveys the power of Black women in nation building. The role of women in nation building must never be trivialised and underplayed.
Strong women make a stronger society.
A nation will only find a firm footing when women are given their rightful places. Three women took up strategic roles in fighting for the redemption of Wakanda’s land- Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o), Okoye (Danai Gurira) and the tech savvy Wizkid Shuri (Letitia Wright).
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