A nebbish is not qualified for the throne of authority, thus the challenge of a king-to-be in a ritual combat.
Rituals for the throne
M’baku comes forward to test Prince T’challa. The Prince is losing the combat until he hears the voice of his mother saying “Show him who you are.” This reminds him of himself as he shouts, “I am Prince T’Challa, son of T’Chaka.” With this in mind, he brings M’baku to a breaking point before the hefty man taps out. Here again, the movie reinforces the motif of identity subtly introduced at the beginning of the movie. If you don’t know who you are, you cannot win any battle.
Africans will win many battles but they must first remember who they are. The ritual that follows the combat involves burying the King-to-be. As soon as he is buried, he wakes up in a forest. A panther climbs down from a tree branch and turns into T’Chaka. He has come to teach his son the ways of royal life. This scene has some of the most powerful quotes of the movie. “A man who has not prepared his children for his own death has failed as a father.” The father also gives his son a lesson in governance, “You are a good man with a good heart and it’s hard for a good man to be king.” These are deep philosophies about life of responsibility.
Death of N’jobu echoes betrayal. He is supposed to be a Wakandan undercover agent in Oakland, California but he falls in love with a white woman and has Erik. This, his brother T’Chaka considers an act of betrayal. N’Jobu also plans to expose the technology of Wakanda to the world so that Africans can fight their oppressors. If we accept N’Jobu’s acts as betrayal, are they enough reasons for T’chaka to kill his own brother?
Isn’t the killing of N’Jobu by the hands of T’Chaka a greater level of betrayal? What then is betrayal if this is not it? T’Chaka does not stop at killing his own brother, he denies the existence of his nephew by not bringing him to Wakanda. He instructs Zuri to help maintain the lie that N’jobu has disappeared. All of these sum up to be T’chaka’s betrayal of his brother and his entire people.
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A stranger finds his home
T’Chaka’s misdeeds breed monster Erik Killmonger who forcefully finds his way home and claims the throne. He hauls T’Challa down the valley and becomes another black panther. His short reign is overwrought with disrespect for the tradition of a people he doesn’t understand. He does not believe he is lost, he instead switches it round with, “Maybe home is the one that’s lost and that’s why they can’t find us.” His greed for power is demonstrated in his order that the heart-shaped herbs be set ablaze after ingesting some of the herbs. Nikia has however stolen one of the heart-shaped herbs before everything went up in flames.
Erik is planning to open up Wakanda to the world. He’d send Wakanda’s weapons to officers in different parts of the world but “Wakanda does not need a warrior right now, we need a king.” Wakanda should be a dark horse lest its secrets are exposed to the world. No wonder the kind of foreign policy that the governing council of Wakanda wants is that of aloofness. This leaves us with as many questions as possible: Is it politically wise for Africa to play Big Brother to other countries of the world? Can Africa become the saviour of the world? Is Africa the next Babylon?
Written by Omidire Idowu.
Omidire, Idowu Joshua is a Nigeria content developer, professional editor and proofreader whose works have appeared on different online magazines. He is a movie aficionado. Reach him via: email@example.com