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What Chadwick Boseman’s Passing Means for Africans

If you’re not a comics fan, you may have been surprised at the extent of the heartfelt grief expressed following the death of actor Chadwick Boseman. One explanation lies in the extraordinary power of the 2018 movie Black Panther, in which Boseman starred as T’Challa/Black Panther, to address racist stereotypes about Africa and Africans. Boseman’s character was heir to the hidden kingdom of Wakanda, a mythical African nation free of European colonisation. The film’s subtext explores African Americans’ varying identifications, past and present, with Africa and a global Black diaspora. In Black Panther, Chadwick Boseman – along with a host of other wonderful actors, and director and screenwriters Ryan Coogler and Joe Robert Cole – brought to life a “splendidly black” utopian vision. The film, which reverses stereotypes about Africa, delighted many African American fans.