21/02/2018 09:54 SAST | Updated 21/02/2018 10:37 SAST

WATCH: Beyond The Afrofuturism Of 'Black Panther'

A new documentary asks Africans themselves how the future of Africa could look.

Olalekan Jeyifous

"Black Panther" has brought the idea of Afrofuturism into the mainstream imagination, but what does the wide-ranging word mean, and should we still use it?

A new documentary by HBO's Vice asks some of Africa's brightest thinkers exactly that, and gets a surprising range of answers from them.

One of those interviewed is author Nnedi Okarafor, who was actually one of the writers of the "Black Panther" comic series. Okarafor says that new science fiction makes space for Africa in the way we picture the future, "it is rooted in Africa, and just like the diaspora, everything else is connected to it".

But the idea behind Afrofuturism is a contentious term: South African author Lindokuhle Nkosi has argued that the term is "bizarre".

"...the excitement around Afrofuturism and African futures is put on these shiny pedestals that make it a grouping of ideas that can be commodified, in the same manner that Africa, and ideas of Africa, have been for centuries. Imagining yourself in the future is not revolutionary, it's survival," Nkosi says.

She adds: "Is it really so bizarre to project an image of a future world in which black people, black culture, still exists?"

Watch the documentary and decide for yourself what the future of the idea could mean for you.