Wakanda forever!! To all those relieving themselves from the blank panther hype. As a huge fan of Chadwick Bozeman and the marvel series, writes Simon Singiza, a BBA student at Victoria University Kampala.
I didn’t expect anything less of the movie. What actually took me by storm was the excitement it caused globally not to mention in Kampala streets with cinemas seats fully booked anywhere you turned. The last time I saw such hype was the time our Lord Jesus Christ received some serious cans in the release of passion of Christ. If I you haven’t watched it run and buy that movie ticket, or you can choose to be patriotic (be Ugandan, buy Ugandan) and wait for the Vj Junior version to come out.
There so many aspects that made this movie thrilling starting from the cast of African actors, the authentic fight scenes as well as the concept of a technologically advanced Africa. But the real entertainment for me was the effort made by social media to affiliate the movie-based kingdom Wakanda to Uganda. It’s all starts when the movie points out that the location of the Wakanda kingdom was somewhere around East Africa. Then the Mengo Lords casting the first stone swore how that name is actually pronounced as Waganda and not Wakanda. The Basoga too were not going to let anyone steal the glory right and so they rushed to lay claim on one of the two Ugandan actors that were part of the Black Panther cast was of Busoga origin. One could hear them affirm how they even sent Daniel Kayunga the kanzu he wore on during the premier of the Black Panther. What I found more interesting was the pictorial evidence the Bakiga revealed of the similarity of the Wakanda geographical scenery to Lake Bunyonyi and the Ruwenzori Mountains as they too tried to own the movie. This got me thinking supposing there was some truth in these arguments, how can Uganda and its tourism benefit from this opportunity.
The music and film industry has played a big role in influencing today’s culture, way of life, and general public opinion about certain topics. This is why the business world will not mind paying millions of dollars just so their products can feature in popular movies. You imagine how much Mercedes Benz had to pay just so batman could be seen driving a Mercedes in the justice league movie. Or how much American car companies have to pay for their vehicles to feature in movies like the transformers or the fast and furious. I’m quite sure tourism in Madagascar sky rocketed immediately after the release of the famous cartoon animation Madagascar. Not to mention the benefit Kenya and Tanzania tourism has received courtesy from the classical animation the lion king which not only stressed the beauty of the Kilimanjaro Mountain and national parks but also Swahili language phrases like hakuna matata
If businesses and other countries are benefiting from Hollywood, what would be wrong in Uganda paying millions of dollars just so the name our country could be mentioned in the blank panther movie and possibly some beautiful locations of our pearl. Besides we once paid a hefty sum of money to advertise our country on CNN.
Bringing this line of thought has had some critics argue that the Black Panther storyline portrays Africa as highly developed and technologically advanced thus trying to give the world an impression that Uganda fits this description would be one sick joke. While that is an opinion that cannot be ignored, anyone who has travelled beyond African borders will tell you of the much cynical myths that have been portrayed about our country and continent at large. While we labour to study the entire map of north America and Europe with its countries, one has to come to terms with the fact that half the world doesn’t even know a country called Uganda exists. The lucky few who know either have the impression the entire population lives in huts or think we are a war-torn country. The most famous thing about Uganda is not the River Nile or the beautiful flora and fauna. but our former notorious President Idi Amin Dada who some not only think is still alive, many think he is still our president. You can’t blame them definitely because that’s the picture many films and articles written about us have painted of Uganda. Although the most recent films like the Queen of Katwe and international music video by French Montana unforgettable showed to the world the talents of our young generation the ghetto kids and 10-year-old Phiona, one cannot ignore the fact that they still portrayed Ugandans as people who predominately live in slums.
We are not the only African country that is suffering the effect of bad publicity. after all, one of the reasons the blank panther movie is a hit is because this is among the first few movies that has made an attempt to change people’s mindset about Africa and therefore we should grab this opportunity and use this movie to focus that attention further on Uganda’s tourism before some other country does.
The writer is a BBA student at Victoria University and Head of Marketing Voyager Hotels.