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1 - Who Are the Architects of Wakanda?

African Economic Historians and the Stories We Tell

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  30 August 2022

Johan Fourie
Affiliation:
University of Stellenbosch, South Africa
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Summary

When Marvel Studios released its superhero film Black Panther in 2018, kids across the continent of Africa began to salute one another Wakanda-style. They crossed their arms (in a gesture like the pharaohs of ancient Egypt, who were laid to rest with their arms on their chests) and would end the greeting with the words ‘Wakanda forever’.

Wakanda, of course, is a fictional country. It was created, so the story goes, when a massive meteorite made up of an equally fictional metal, vibranium, crashed into a location somewhere in East Africa. Understanding the value of vibranium, the leaders of Wakanda concealed this rare and valuable energy-giving resource. Many of the best scholars of Wakanda were sent to study abroad and, on their return, their work turned Wakanda into one of the world’s most technologically advanced countries. Although Wakanda appears from the outside to be a poor, developing country, it is actually prosperous beyond belief.

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Our Long Walk to Economic Freedom
Lessons from 100,000 Years of Human History
, pp. 6 - 11
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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