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Black Panther: A Critical Review

Black Panther (2018) can be praised for its attempt to modify the concept of a Black hero in the American superhero film.

Prior films did the opposite by focusing exclusively on the White hero regardless of a diverse viewership. However, this does not mean we cannot critique the film and pose some important questions, especially where a part of our culture as Batswana was appropriated. As a genre, the film tends to imagine the whole continent of Africa as an utopian Wakanda, an imaginary place.

It succeeds at challenging the ongoing misconception by some western filmmakers who have repeatedly imagined and represented African films in dystopian terms; where Africa is always associated with unpleasantness or a place to be pitied. This film reminds us in the 21c of the sad narrative of colonialism, and its atrocities and its aftermath in Africa.

This however is not done with greater emphasis, I argue. The narrative of colonialism presented in an extremely passive manner, limiting it only to theft committed on the cultural artifacts that were stolen from Africa long time ago in history. The issue here is, there is more to this narrative that the film fails to expose, such as for example the land question that has continued to persist even today, leaving politicians with their horns locked like wild bulls.

Through this article, I intend to make a contribution to ongoing debates about Black Panther. It has been received with mixed feelings; those of excitement and in some cases it has been rejected quite frankly. Coming from a very critical point of view I’m compelled to ask the following questions about this film: how does it portray Africa as a single entity and why should this reductionist view of be of interest to us as viewers? What are the implications of appropriating the African costume shown in the film?

What stereotypes about Africans does Black Panther reinforce? What is the financial benefit for African cultures whose costumes have been appropriated? Why is the monopoly by western film companies allowed to continue? All these questions are very important in framing our mindset as consumers of our cultures, and the latter is even more relevant today because African narratives or stories are often taken, represented for massive profits in the western markets by Westen film companies.

Can African film companies produce films and benefit in the western in the same manner? If we ask these questions, we will end up confronting cultural issues with sensitivity. It is important to respond to think about these issues because as noted by a filmmaker from Burkina Faso, Gaston Kabore in African Filmmaking, ‘If Africans remain mere consumers of cinema and television images conceived and produced by others, they will become second-rate citizens of the world and be forced to accept a destiny which will not take into account their history, their basic aspirations and even less their values, their imaginary and their vision of the world.

If Africa does not acquire the capacity to forge its own gaze, so as to confront its own image, it will lose its point of view and its self-awareness.’ In the next article, I will revisit another film that was well received, yet a few questions asked A United Kingdom. Please share with us your views, comments or responses by email and we'll be happy to engage a debate on this matter. There will be prizes for best commentaries!

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Vee Mampeezy wants to marry again!

28th November 2022

In May 2014, controversial pint sized musician, Odirile Sento married his longtime girlfriend, Kagiso Sento in a glamorous wedding, not knowing that eight years later, the two will be fighting until the very end of their holy union.

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Motsetserepa needs help

18th October 2022

Mental health is one critical element in someone’s life but gloomily, it is often overlooked. Topics centered on mental health and depression dominate the public discourse. The national conversation surrounding mental wellness, both online and offline has aided in the stigma of suffering from depression being removed, slowly but surely.

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TatsoConnekt Leading Women Brunch

14th October 2022

On Saturday 29 October 2022 (11:00- 15:00) Bash Connektor will be presenting their 1st TatsoConnekt Leading Women Brunch which will be hosted by Basadi’Bash’Masimolole. Tatso. A Setswana word. Taste  .Tatso / ta-tso/. verb.

The Brunch will be held at Myhomecafe by Mogobane Dam and tickets are selling at P650 per person. Only 50 tickets available and sold through pre-booking. The value of the offering will be a brunch meal + bottomless mimosas + connekting conversations that matter with leading women in corporate and entrepreneurship. This is an inspirational / empowerment connekting session for Women.

Bash Connektor is a Marketing Company with a twist founded in March 2022 by Basadi Bash Masimolole who has 15 years plus Marketing Experience. The INTENT of Bash Connektor is to Link People, Experiences, and Brands. The K instead of C is INTENTIONAL. We are all about contributing towards AMPLIFYING brand and country messages through curating experiential offerings and connekting conversations that matter, said Basadi Masimolole.

With a sponsor or funding, Basadi Masimolole’s ultimate goal is to have visual podcasts and empowerment connektor sessions at villages as part of cultural tourism and contributing towards the Botswana Government’s Rural Areas Development Program (RADP).

Individuals interested in purchasing the limited number tickets or Brands interested in participating on the TatsoConnekt Leading Women Brunch through sponsorships/ brand placement opportunities can reach Basadi’Bash’Masimolole on +267 7140 6660 / masimololebasadi@gmail.com / Bash Connektor Facebook page.

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