So with all the hype surrounding the new film by Marvel Studios The Black Panther I wanted to delve into three countries within Africa that are just as grand as the fictional country of Wakanda. In the comic book the Black Panther, the fictional country of Wakanda is depicted as a hidden African country that is far superior to the western world and has a number of advantageous features within it, first and fore-most is their technological advancement, such as Kimoyo Beads, which monitors citizens health and is used for communication like the smartphones of today’s world. Second is their progressiveness and advancement, and ability to hold each citizen with respect and dignity. And lastly their amazing history, and the lineage of how The Black Panther King reigns over Wakanda (The King T’challa’s blood line lead him to become the Black Panther and King of Wakanda). Wakanda in the comics is the wealthiest country within the Marvel Universe, and when you delve deep into its vastness, it is easy to see why it’s so wealthy as the country has a massive amount of one of the most powerful fictional elements in the Marvel Universe called Vibranium, which is a super-conductive element that has the power to be used in a variety of different ways such as teleportation, hovercraft technology and even makes up the power behind the Black Panther’s suit. If you want more information on the country of Wakanda you should look up marvel.com/universe/Wakanda . But now that we have a small window of how powerful Wakanda is we will now look at three African countries that hold the same miraculous feats that Wakanda has but in the real world.
Take for example Libya under Muammar Gaddafi’s rule. Libya had the largest irrigation project ever constructed called The Great Man-Made River Project, as Libya is 90 percent desert and lies within the eastern part of the Sahara it is easy to understand how grand this project was. Libya had absolutely no national debt and had over 150 billion dollars in reserves. But what was one of Libya’s greatest
achievements was their progressiveness. Gaddafi although a dictator was extremely progressive towards women and all of his citizens, education and health care were completely free to all citizens, having a home was considered a human right as he stated, “The house is a basic need of both the individual and the family, therefore it should not be owned by others.” Considering that most of the Arab world was oppressive to women, Libya under Gaddafi allowed women to work freely anywhere and dress as they liked, only subject to family constraints. And right before he was murdered, on the 21 st of February 2011 Gaddafi launched a program to privatize all Libyan oil to every citizen of Libya, providing $21,000 to every citizen from a total of $32 billion.
Just like the fictional mineral Vibranium within the Marvel universe, the real-life mineral coltan is a metallic ore from which the elements niobium and tantalum are extracted from. Tantalum from coltan is used to manufacture tantalum capacitors, used in almost every electronic product from your Xbox to your smartphone to your tablet. And in 2013, Rwanda was the world’s single largest exporter of coltan, exporting 2.4 million tons of it according to The East African. Now Rwanda’s economy sits at a booming 8.4% GDP annual growth and is now being called the “Singapore of Africa”, which is extremely grand considering the president of Rwanda, Paul Kagame took office in 2000 right after the devastating Rwandan Genocide which crippled the economy to a standstill.
But when we talk about the great continent of Africa one cannot just pass or undermine one of the greatest countries to exist, the great country of Ethiopia or the Kingdom of Axum, the resting place of the Ark of the Covenant and the home of the Queen of Sheba. The only territory in Africa to defeat European colonial powers (debatable that there were other territories that defeated European colonization but nonetheless still great) and one of the oldest people to ever exist with skeletal remains of some of the earliest humans to ever inhabit earth, a civilization that dates far before the 2nd millennium, a language with one of the oldest alphabets still in use, and the first place that the coffee bean was ever cultivated by humans. Ethiopia is a mega-star for human history and in the fictional country of Wakanda they often talk about their history and lineage that births the great Black Panther king T’challa being called the “King of Kings”, but in Ethiopia there is also a lineage that dates back to King Solomon’s dynasty, His imperial majesty Emperor Haile Selassie I. His other titles were the Lion of Judah, Ras Tafari, and King of Kings. Yes, that’s right there is an actual African leader who was called the King of Kings just like the fictional Wakandan king. Through his inspiration, the independence of Ethiopia was seen as a beacon of light, an example of true black political integrity, by defeating a fully equipped modern European army and the Roman Catholic Church crusader alliance (the pope would bow to him) on African soil with no more than words of righteousness. And then prevented Africa from becoming a European territory by establishing a united Africa with 40 other African leaders to accept the capital of Ethiopia Addis Ababa as their capital. Emperor Haile Selassie I was the real life equivalent to T’challa of Wakanda, and his miraculous feats mirror the fictional super-hero. Though the black community is hyped about seeing an African country on the big screen that is extremely affluent and powerful, we cannot forget that the cradle of civilization has already done this for millenniums. Though Wakanda does not actually exist, Africa has and will continue to develop great and prosperous countries with beautiful, powerful and intelligent people.