black panther

a review.

For most of you, not counting Ark of course, I guess, have watched the hyped  over hyped movie of 2018, black panther a Marvel Comics production. First, I am not watching any hyped movie again in a long time. I hate disappointments, especially in movies, where my only reason for paying to watch is to be mesmerized, entertained and possibly to be taken to a different plane of existence, even just momentarily.

Following persuasion by friends, yours truly watched the movie and has a few things to say about it.

First, we can agree with T’challa’s father, the late king, that a father who has not taught his child well, has failed. We can have a long debate on whether a good man can be a king. That, I think, is in the province of philosophy.

IS advancement to be seen in skyscrapers and toys? Apart from the tall buildings and toys, very little of life in Wakanda is seen. I can’t for the life of me, tell what the life in Wakanda is like. Well, it is a monarchy, there is a council of elders, there is a ritual fight for installation of the king, a fight which methinks, shouldn’t be bloody but ceremonial, especially given that a king is chosen from the royal family. Any contender for the throne could just get a Ji jitsu trainer for the opportune moment.

I like the women though, especially Okoye and Shuri. Okoye’s loyalty to the nation of Wakanda is beyond dispute. She tells W’kabi she would kill him for Wakanda without question. When Killmonger becomes king, she makes it known her allegiance is to Wakanda regardless of who sits on the throne. Shuri reminds me of Q in Bond movies. She is at home with gadgets in a way that makes you, for a few moments, want to be her friend. You may, if she is up to it, be transported to the future. It is also the women who save Wakanda from Killmonger. Shuri, Nakia and the queen mother, devastated with the defeat of T’Challa look for allies to get the usurper out of the throne. It is their determination that at the end, that makes it possible for Wakanda to be involved in world affairs, but in a more humane way, through science and technology not war.

There is, an invocation of the role of ancestors in the African community. This happens, if I recall correctly, three times, the first at the enthronement of T’Challa, then of Killmonger and thirdly when T’Challa is sent to the ancestors where he declines to join them in eternal repose, arguing there is work to be done. I wish I could on occasion tell the ancestors to eff off!

As with most Hollywood movies, no movie is complete without a villain, even if it is a cardboard character. And for Black Panther, the villain is Killmonger. He believes, for whatever reason, his rightful place is the throne of Wakanda. After helping the artifact thief, Klaue, steal and escape from a CIA interrogation room, he kills him only to deliver the body as a trophy to Wakanda, where he challenges T’Challa. A ritual fight is organized, T’Challa gets the beating of the century and a for a brief interlude, we have a madman general at the helm. His idea of domination means conquering the world, with weapons, the American dream. I think the Americans, dream of an empire like the British empire of old, so that their imagination of an advanced civilization must include in it empire building.

Go watch the movie at a theater near you. You may be entertained.

For better reviews than I can ever write, visit here, here and here, written by a friend of mine


A United Kingdom

A movie.

A young man, Seretse Khama, from Botswanaland, is sent to the UK, following the death of his parents to prepare him for his role as chief of his people. After two decades, he is ready to return home, but there is a small complication. The man has fallen in love with a white woman, Ruth Williams. This would not be so bad were it not that apartheid was how the government of South Africa treated the relations between blacks and whites and the miscegenation laws were if not in the statutes, were there in practice.

The first question we are confronted with is whether, had the tables been turned, would Queen Elizabeth be eligible for the throne if she had a black man for a husband. I don’t know if the rules of the monarchy have changed, last time I heard, a member of the royal family destined to be king or queen wouldn’t marry a Catholic. Marrying black looks to me like a sure sign of foregoing the monarchy.

This however isn’t the only problem we have in our hands. The South Africans do not want the marriage to stand, at least not, if the husband and wife are both living in Botswanaland. They engineer a conflict between our young prince and his uncle, and to good effect. They even have a report manufactured to confirm this.

You all know young lovers and ideals. The love birds fly to Botswanaland only to receive a very hostile reception from all quarters. The sister to the young chief isn’t amused.

When in the village meeting is held and Seretse in a moving speech gets the nod from the people to be their chief, the die is cast and a battle of empires, so to speak, begins. The Brits hatch a plan to get the couple back in the UK. Seretse goes back on his own, leaving his wife to stay at home. He is banished from home and a long battle for freedom ensues.

The administrators from the colonial office are both ruthless and heartless.

The movie has some very great scenes and speeches. But most of the characters are cardboard characters. For example, Naledi, Sereste’s younger sister who, in her first meeting with Ruth is quite hostile transforms to be her defender, but this transformation is not well developed.

We also don’t get to see the conflicts the uncle struggles with, first when he departs to establish a new settlement after the villagers vote to have Sereste as their chief. There is just a single letter from nephew to uncle and then a meeting and we live happily ever after.

The first president of Botswana is the father of the fourth president who has started his tours of goodbye to his people as his term ends.

Khama Sereste put Botswana on the road for good governance and development, when instead of pursuing monarchy, suggested to the people they needed to elect their own leaders.

No man is free who is not master of himself