Wakanda is a fictional country (from the now-infamous Black Panther film) is untouched by colonial influence. Wakanda represents Africa before colonialists invaded it.
Indeed, the 18th century was a very sad time to be a citizen of Wakanda, no thanks to the thriving transatlantic slave trade.
When the colonialists landed the shores of Wakanda, they took her people and sang strange songs that turned what was music to their ears to pain, slavery, and shame for our skin tone. Along with that were promises the sufferings of our fellow brothers would enrich that the people. And for years, the people of Wakanda continued to suffer. During this period of soulful darkness, West Wakandans (Africans) accounted for approximately two-thirds of the Wakandan (African) captives taken to America.
Then one day, they left, just like that.
The big question is, why did they leave? Did they leave on their terms or there were “superheroes” who defended the land?
These heroes’ names may not be as pleasant to the ear as Marvel or DC comic heroes, but their stories and actions will be told till the end of the world.
These are the superheroes that existed after Wakanda and gave us this Africa forever.
“Sons of Africa”- The Abolitionists
Have you ever seen a Nigerian go to a brawl with a pen? To come to a gunfight with a pen is suicidal at best but there are African heroes who their actions are tantamount to exactly just this.
These heroes, known as “The Sons of Africa,” were abolitionists and they warred against their sworn enemy —-slave trade using their only weapon for the land they swore allegiance to.
Olaudah Equiano is one such hero. His autobiography, “The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano” (1789), helped gain passage of the British Slave Trade Act 1807, which abolished the slave trade.
Ignatius Sancho is known as the only Briton of African heritage to have been eligible and voted in an 18th-century general election through property qualifications.
Girded with their weapon of the vanquishing pen and paper, Olaudah Equiano, Quobna Ottobah Cugoano and Ignatius Sancho regularly bombarded the British Parliament and put forward bills to abolish the Transatlantic Slave Trade. They fought the battle against the slave trade and won when two bills, The Slave Trade Act 1807 and The Slave Act 1788 were passed into law. These bills did not take effect until years later.
Wakanda’s Taifa Ngao; Africa’s Pan African Association and UNIA
Like the Taifa Ngao in the Black Panther, the Pan African association and UNIA were made up of representatives of the various tribes in Africa. These associations served Africans as they came together to discuss issues that affected them.
Revered Sociologist, W. E. B. Du Bois revived the Pan-African Conference after it crumbled under the pressure of the ongoing World War 2.
Marcus Garvey also created his own council of elders named the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA).
Just like Marvel’s characters of Black Panther and Kill Monger, the story of two brothers with the same goals but different paths is as old as time itself.
- E. B. Du Bois and Marcus Garvey both believed in Pan-Africanism but had different means of getting there. They continued their battle for the sole cause of Africa’s independence, but they never saw eye to eye. DuBois ended up sparking up demands for the decolonisation of Africa.
Kwame Nkrumah “the decolonizer”
Nkrumah was Africa’s last stand, our own Black panther. World War II had ended, and the colonialists began to feel the economic aftermath, leading to a breakup after the war. With the pressure from Africans who were begun to realise self and unravel, slave trade had become even less profitable, especially as these Africans fought for sovereign self-governance.
In the spirit of oneness of the black race, Nkrumah alongside Haile Selassie created the OAU (The Organisation of African Unity (OAU) which was later renamed the AU (African Union).
Africa’s Black Panther, Kwame Nkurumah, did not drink of any heart-shaped plant but he was strong enough to mount pressure on the Secretary of State for the Colonies. And in 1956, Africa had its first independent country, the nation-state of Ghana. He went on to end the slave trade on a large scale when he became the first president of Ghana.
The Dora Milajes: Chief Fumilayo Ransome-Kuti and Nwayereuwa
The Dora Milaje are female warriors that protected and fought by the side of the black panther. The Dora Milaje is an homage to the Amazon warriors of Dahomey. And like them, two Nigerian women protected and fought for their people.
Nwayereuwa led the Aba women’s riot of 1929. The riot was sparked due to the abuse of the tax system and women’s rights, while the media described Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti as the “Lioness of Lisabi” for leading the women of the Egba people on a campaign against their arbitrary taxation. That struggle led to the temporary abdication of the high king Oba Ademola II in 1949.
These protests are remembered not just for people taking a stand against colonialism but also as moments in history when women’s voices were heard.
The moves by our superheroes marked the end game for most African countries’ submission to the colonialists as they fought for their independence. Hence, Africans took charge. Although it may not be exactly as Garvey or Du Bois wanted, it was a dream come true. It was our Africa. Africa forever.