Wakanda is not African, and that’s OK | Cinema

The fictional country of Wakanda is, at least according to the comic book history, located somewhere in real life Turkana, the largest and also poorest of Kenya’s 47 counties. I happened to be in Turkana the day Black Panther was officially released in Kenya at a relatively low-key event at the cinema in Kisumu, hometown of the actress Lupita Nyong’o who stars in the movie.

Forty years ago, when the Marvel comics introduced the character of Black Panther, Lodwar, the county capital of Turkana, would have been a sleepy backwater in Kenya’s vast northern terrain, a stopping point on the way to Juba or Khartoum in Cecil Rhodes’ Cape to Cairo fantasy, and not a place to visit per se. The town’s main claim to fame would have been that Jomo Kenyatta, who would later become the first president of…

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