Black Pan­ther fans can find glimpses of Wakanda in Africa

China Daily (Latin America Weekly) - - Life - Black Pan­ther Black Pan­ther Black Pan­ther Mosi-oaTunya Black Pan­ther. Black Pan­ther.

JO­HAN­NES­BURG — Want to go to Wakanda? The block­buster suc­cess of

has cre­ated a new, com­pelling vi­sion of Africa as a con­ti­nent of smart, tech­no­log­i­cally savvy peo­ple with cool clothes liv­ing in a fu­tur­is­tic city amid stun­ning land­scapes.

The hid­den, high-tech kingdom is fic­tional, of course. But the movie suc­cess­fully weaves to­gether many dif­fer­ent as­pects of the con­ti­nent to de­pict Wakanda. For fans who long to visit, there are many real places to con­sider.

“The movie ref­er­ences a lot of dif­fer­ent African cul­tures and tribes,” says Mer­uschka Goven­der, a fan who blogs about travel at Mzan­siGirl.com and calls her­self an “African travel ac­tivist”.

“I loved the Afro-fu­tur­ist cos­tumes, pro­duc­tion and black-con­scious­ness themes. I re­ally hope that it changes the nar­ra­tive of African travel and in­spires peo­ple to travel more the con­ti­nent,” she adds.

Jo­han­nes­burg

In South Africa, Jo­han­nes­burg is a good place to start. “Joburg” is a dy­namic, cos­mopoli­tan African city, full of com­merce, high-rise ar­chi­tec­ture and nightlife that is redo­lent of Wakanda.

The high-speed Gau­train can whisk you from O.R. Tambo In­ter­na­tional Air­port to Jo­han­nes­burg’s shiny fi­nan­cial cen­ter Sand­ton, with its mod­ern sky­scrapers. The train is quick, clean and pleas­ant.

Joburg’s Braam­fontein district is hip, edgy and fun. Univer­sity stu­dents and hip­sters fre­quent the cof­fee shops, restau­rants and bou­tiques. By night there are fun bars and jazz clubs.

The strik­ing Nel­son Man­dela sus­pen­sion bridge leads to gritty down­town Jo­han­nes­burg. Braam­fontein has come up in the past 10 years from a derelict, dan­ger­ous spot to a great place to visit.

Rocky Street in Yeoville is a bustling, hus­tling strip full of peo­ple sell­ing their wares. South Africans, as well as Zim­bab­weans, Con­golese and peo­ple from all parts of Africa are there.

Se­cu­rity is a con­cern in Jo­han­nes­burg, but if you are alert and care­ful — don’t flash your phone or cash — it can be a man­age­able city.

Le­sotho

high­lights the con­trast be­tween Africa’s cityscapes and the land­scapes of the coun­try­side.

The tiny moun­tain kingdom of Le­sotho has that ru­ral, tra­di­tional, spir­i­tual side of Africa, where the Bor­der Tribe in

resided. Le­sotho has dra­matic moun­tain scenery and pic­turesque ron­dav­els, the round, thatched dwellings where many ru­ral fam­i­lies live.

Most dis­tinc­tive are the woven, cone-shaped hats and the brightly colored Ba­sotho blan­kets worn over the shoul­ders of many in Le­sotho. Those blan­kets fea­ture promi­nently in the movie.

Ethiopia

With his­toric tow­ers and churches dat­ing back to the fourth cen­tury, Ethiopia has many sites that sug­gest Wakanda. The coun­try was never col­o­nized and its peo­ple are very proud of that, just as the peo­ple of Wakanda are proud of their his­tory of in­de­pen­dence.

The obelisks of Axum and the churches of Lal­i­bela, carved out of rock, speak of an­cient traditions.

Ethiopi­ans wear flow­ing em­broi­dered cot­ton robes and also like their rep­u­ta­tion as the place where cof­fee was first grown and served, which you can ap­pre­ci­ate with an Ethiopian cof­fee cer­e­mony.

Vic­to­ria Falls, Kenya and more

Vic­to­ria Falls, where the Zam­bezi River spec­tac­u­larly plum­mets over 100 me­ters to make one of the world’s largest wa­ter­falls, is lo­cated on the bor­der be­tween Zam­bia and Zim­babwe. The awe-in­spir­ing falls throw up a per­pet­ual mist that sup­ports a lush rain­for­est.

The in­dige­nous Tonga peo­ple called the falls

which means “Smoke That Thun­ders”. It’s a fab­u­lous place to visit and may bring to mind the wa­ter­fall fight scene from the movie.

Kenya’s cap­i­tal, Nairobi, is another city that is rem­i­nis­cent of Per­haps the place that best cap­tures the jux­ta­po­si­tion of mod­ern and ru­ral Africa is Nairobi Na­tional Park, just 6.4 kilo­me­ters from the city, where you can see rhi­nos, gi­raffes and ele­phants, and look over their shoul­ders to see the of­fice tow­ers of the city in the back­ground.

East Africa’s ex­pan­sive sa­van­nas, with flat-top aca­cia trees, seen in Maa­sai Mara park and Tan­za­nia’s Serengeti park, look like they are right out of a sweep­ing movie scene.

But maybe the best place to get that Wakanda feel­ing is the Wits Univer­sity cam­pus in Jo­han­nes­burg. To be sur­rounded by smart, opin­ion­ated, ar­tic­u­late stu­dents, fash­ion­ably dressed in col­or­ful, sharp clothes, full of hope and plans for them­selves, their coun­try and their con­ti­nent is to feel the heart of the Afro-op­ti­mism of

PHO­TOS PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

of the Tem­ple of Heaven (left) por­tray­ing an im­pe­rial cer­e­mony is part of Lit­tle Big City Bei­jing, an interactive minia­tur­ized at­trac­tion mix­ing phys­i­cal mod­els and spe­cial ef­fects that will open on Qian­men Street this sum­mer. The small repli­cas will in­clude such lo­cal ar­chi­tec­tural icons (clock­wise from top) as the Great Wall, the Palace Mu­seum and tra­di­tional al­ley­ways.

AP PHO­TOS

Jo­han­nes­burg’s sky­line un­der the clouds in South Africa. The block­buster film Black Pan­ther has cre­ated a new com­pelling vi­sion of Africa as a con­ti­nent of smart, tech­no­log­i­cally savvy peo­ple with cool clothes liv­ing in a fu­tur­is­tic city amid stun­ning land­scapes. lo­cal Ethiopian farm­ers and their camels walk past the Obelisk ste­les area in Axum.

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