John Kani on what Black Panther means for Africa

Marvel Studios' BLACK PANTHER..Black Panther/T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman)..Ph: Film Frame..©Marvel Studios 2018

During an interview at the US premiere of Black Panther, the legendary South African actor John Kani – who plays King Tâ€Challa in Marvelâ€s latest blockbuster – dropped some serious bars on what Black Panther means for Africa. Weâ€ve transcribed parts of the interview so you can take in Kaniâ€s powerful statement.

Weâ€ve watched too many movies of Tarzan in Africa, and weâ€ve never found this legend among us. When our grandfathers tell us stories there was nothing of a white man talking with apes. So when I was talking to my son on the set of Captain America, I asked the director, “Why am I speaking English? Weâ€re in Wakanda”. And thatâ€s how I introduced isiXhosa.

The line was simple, I was missing my son, I havenâ€t seen him in a long time, in my language: “Unqabile nyana, ndikugqibele kudala. Asikaxoxi kakuhle iindaba zexhego”. And Africa celebrated this [use of isiXhosa]. Absolutely from Cape to Cairo, people thought it was wonderful. And now theyâ€re expecting this blockbuster which is yet another African input into Hollywood.

This movie is going to deal with the myth that if the white colonialist did not land in Africa, that weâ€d still be walking in skins with spears chasing each other. Weâ€ll prove we built the pyramids in Egypt. It proves that the libraries in Timbuktu, with the history of mankind, is in Africa. Weâ€ll prove that the Zimbabwe ruins were built by us. Weâ€ll prove that the cradle of humankind is in southern Africa. So this is one time where African people are shown at their fullest potential – where theyâ€re able to travel to space and back with incredible technology. So for us, thereâ€s a bit of a seriousness about this movie for many of us.

Feature Image supplied 




  1. Whilst I highly agree with the many great accomplishments in Africa and great histories and love reading about the legacy of the Kingdom of Zimbabwe or Kingdom of Kongo and my most favourite, Aksum – this is a comic book movie….

    I don’t get the point of this article. This doesn’t prove that Africa has a history nor does this movie remove a myth about anything related to white colonialists.. I don’t see anywhere where people deny that the ruins in Zimbabwe weren’t built by Africans either? I think the author has a chip on their shoulder.

    With all of that being said this movie still is important and awesome for something different in hollywood with a black centrered story arc. I hope it inspires many more poc actors and directors to come about.


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