Black Panther is probably one of the most important superhero movies from the Marvel Comic Universe and has roared into the hearts of fans all over the world. What makes Black Panther so appealing to audiences, is its representation of black people and the African culture. What we loved especially was all the South African references in the movie set to break records and hopefully start a positive trend in the entertainment world.
Here are some of our favoured South African references in Black Panther.
isiXhosa Is The Offical Language Of Wakanda
Wakanda might be a fictional African kingdom, but the language spoken by her people is a real language and one of the most prominent South African references in Black Panther.
Everyone in Wakanda speaks isiXhosa, which is one of our country’s 11 official languages. We also love that when English is spoken by the people of Wakanda, that they have an accent. South African actor, John Khani who portrays the role of Black Panther’s father, T’Chaka convinced the movie-makers to make Wakanda’s official language isiXhosa and we couldn’t be more proud.
The Soundtrack Has South African References And Artists
Anticipation for Black Panther started to reach a boiling point in our country when Kendrick Lamar – who awesomely created the OST – announced that the soundtrack would honour South African references, performed by South African artists.
— Kendrick Lamar (@kendricklamar) February 9, 2018
South African Actresses And Actors
We love the South African representation in Black Panther, showcasing the talent of some of our country’s most beloved entertainers. John Khani portrays the role of T’Chaka, Black Panther’s father. Connie Chiume portrays the role of a Wakandan elder.
He might not be from our country, but Andy Serkis’s accent is another one of the awesome South African references you can catch in Black Panther. He nails the accent and does a better job than both Leonardo DiCaprio and Matt Damon could ever dream of doing.
The Decor And Fashion
South African references are featured throughout the fashion and decor. For instance, Wakanda’s walls sport painted geometric patterns, similar to Ndebele culture.
You also see Rondavels (roundhouses) – another one of the very significant South African references. Roundhouses are essential in certain South African culture as they play huge roles in ancestorial traditions and beliefs. We are also shown how the Queen Mother and princess Shuri wear Seanamera blankets.
Shaka Zulu References
Some of the most famous South African references were made to the great Shaka Zulu. There are many parallels between Black Panther and Shaka Zulu’s famous story.
For one, Shaka Zulu was always surrounded by females, with his royal council having consisted predominately of females. T’Challa’s personal army are all-female, lead by Okoye (portrayed by Danai Gurira).
During the fight challenges, the formation made by the respective armies are reminiscent of the cow horn attack formation Shaka Zulu’s army used when under attack.
There is a scene where a spear is broken, which is similar to Shaka Zulu’s weapons – the spears were shorter to be more effective with shorter handles and larger blades.
Most African kings, especially South African kings have royal Sangomas. T’Challa’s royal Sangoma is played by the legendary Forest Whitaker.
Which South African references did you spot in Black Panther? Drop us a comment below and let us know.
A special thanks to Lyton Sibanda for assisting us in finding some of the South African references in Black Panther.