What If Part I: Africa
Could the fictional country of Wakanda from 'Black Panther' been a close reality for Africa if foreign invasion, conquest, and colonization never happened?
Marvel’s Black Panther was one of the most popular movies to be released in 2018, grossing $1.3 billion worldwide, and is currently number nine of the top 10 grossing movies of all-time in the United States.
The landscape of Black Panther's Wakanda was futuristic and showcased ancient and medieval African buildings, artifacts, and sculptures. This made me think how close of a reality could Wakanda be if Africa wasn’t invaded and colonized by foreigners.
It has been well documented that Africans had governments and structure throughout the many communities within the continent from North, East, West, and South Africa.
North Africa had its fair share of battles from invading forces of other ethnic groups such as the Greeks, Romans, Persians, Phoenicians, and Arabs who conquered the land for themselves. The descendants of these people can be found today throughout North Africa, as well as the original North African descendants who still reside in this region of the continent.
Benin and Congo
The empires and cities of Benin (West Africa), Louango Congo (West-Central Africa), Kilwa (East Africa), Ghana (West Africa), Mali (West Africa), Songhai (West Africa) and Great Zimbabwe (South Africa).
Kilwa and Great Zimbabwe
The world outside of Africa assumed nothing great came from these empires and cities. When European missionaries and explorers from Portugal, France, Britain, Europe, and Spain travelled to these lands, they couldn’t believe how structured and organized the Africans were living because of the stereotype of Africans being primitive.
During the ancient and medieval times in Africa, these civilizations flourished because they were river civilizations. These empires, cities, towns, and villages resided near the Nile River (4,258 mi), Niger River (2,597 mi), Congo River (2,920 mi), and the Limpopo River (1,087 mi) to name a few. These civilizations were able to build around the rivers because water was needed for agriculture and state building.
For instance, Ghana, Mali, and Songhai were established near the Niger River. These three kingdoms were located in West Africa and were known as the “Gold Coast,” because the land produced an enormous amount of gold.
King's of Ghana, Mali, and Songhai Empire's
Ghana’s most prominent king was Tunka Manin, and he ruled from 1062 to 1076 C.E. He was most famous for administering justice to his people. He would ride his horse through the community to hear the pleas and complaints of his people and wouldn’t leave until they were satisfied.
Mali was probably the most famous out of the three empires of West Africa because of their king “Mansa Musa.” Mansa Musa ruled from 1312-1337, and is currently the richest person to have ever lived on planet earth with net worth of $400 billion. His wealth came from the vast production of half of the worlds salt and gold, according to CNBC Africa.
The last empire the flourish before the European transatlantic slave trade was the Songhai Empire, which was the same size as the United States in proximity at its peak. One of Songhai’s prominent king's was Sonni Ali, and he reigned from 1464-1492. He was a military commander and led an army and navy to protect his kingdom.
Timbuktu, a university that was established in the early 12th century in West Africa became an unparalleled city of scholarship, learning, and trade.
The Africans were hospitable towards all ethnic groups when they arrived, but some didn’t want to trade fairly, so they destroyed cities and stole everything that was important to the African people because they knew it would destroy their confidence. From the outside, the invaders made it look like nothing great ever happened in West, Central, East, and South Africa.
Although Arab and European conquest happened, the ruins of the great African empires and cities can still be seen today. This part of world history serves as a reminder of what people with superior weapon technology can do to another group of people just to fulfill their personal agenda.
What if conquest and colonization never happened to Africa? Would African people take advantage of the natural resources and protect their motherland?
Of course, because Africans accomplished wonderful things before colonization, and they will be able to do it again. If Africa wasn’t colonized and invaded, the Africans would have been able to pass wealth down from one generation to the next since the land has always been resource rich.
The kingdoms had pharaohs, kings, and queens, but some of the people were doctors, political leaders, army and navy commanders, and high priests. Some Africans were also highly educated in mathematics, astronomy, agriculture, state building, writing, sciences, and philosophy to name a few. With all these skill sets, how could the Africans not succeed with all the knowledge and talent they would have acquired from generation to another generation.
Benin City Artifacts
Also, all the African artifacts, statues, manuscripts, mummies, and many more from the different kingdoms throughout Africa would have never left and entered any European museums. If the Europeans thought the Africans they conquered were primitive, why did they steal African artifacts and display them in their museums?
At the European Summit, there have been talks to return treasures back to Nigeria.
Africa Feeds the World
Why is Africa so resource rich, yet still fighting to get out of poverty?
The term “Africa Feeds the World,” comes from the impact of colonization and invaders stripping the continent of its wealth for hundreds of years and sending the resources back to their respective countries. Europe, the United States, and China are currently fighting over resources in Africa, all while disrespecting African people in the process.
For example, U.S. President Donald Trump called Africa "sh%thole countries," and his wife Melania Trump went on a tour visiting African countries such as Ghana, Malawi, Kenya, and Egypt. When she arrived in Kenya, she decided to wear a pith helmet, which is a symbol of colonial oppression. The European missionaries and colonists wore this helmet when they invaded Africa hundreds of years ago, and Melania Trump wearing the pith helmet reminds the Africans of the horrible past they had with the Europeans.
The Chinese government is also interested in doing business in Africa, but one of their own citizen’s visited Kenya, and called Kenyan citizens, including Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta “monkeys.” Luckily, the Chinese man was quickly deported back to China after his racist rant.
The first shall be last, and the last shall be first.
When Africans from around the world unite, connect, and protect their motherland. Only then may the fictional Wakanda landscape become a reality in Africa.