THE BLOG
23/02/2018 14:35 SAST | Updated 23/02/2018 14:35 SAST

Now Is The Time To Harness The Black Panther Wave Of Optimism

African entrepreneurs have a moment in time to harness the power of the film in products and services to shape our futures into something we never imagined.

Marvel Database

It has been five days since "Black Panther" opened. Mercy is over – the beans, tea and milk are being spilt now. My initial instinct was to comment on all the things I absolutely loved about the movie, the things that got me in my feels, but there are so many reaction videos and thought pieces already out there, and I seem to agree with most of them.

"Black Panther" shattered every record, hope and dream expected of it in the first four days. The film made figures that Jacob Zuma couldn't read out loud; $427-million (~R5-billion) from its global release.

If you are a black entrepreneur in any field, this is your time to harness the wave of global warm feelings and take your shot.

Black people and others showed up and showed off in our Ankara, tribal markings, crowns, beads and blankets. We shut it down! And we are still gassing on the fumes, liking the posts, and using the crossed arms emoji. It is a glorious moment, and I am grateful that I got to see it in my lifetime.

Ryan Coogler, the 31-year-old director of the movie, came to Africa to spend some time trying to understand the cultures and nuances of what it took to be African. He wanted it to be authentic. All of the resultant excitement and impact of the film – the root of this success – came from the time he spent in the motherland – the cradle of humankind. Wakanda may be fantasy, but it has reached into the public imagination, because it reflects real possibilities and a real vision of our cultures.

Remember the World Cup in 2010? Wasn't that a great moment for South Africa and Africa? And what about the universal moment of pride when we saw a black man being sworn in as the 44th president of the U.S? These are all wonderful moments that will be treasured and cherished.

However, what we need now is a movement that will capitalise on that good sentiment and contribute to moving our continent and cultures forward.

In my opinion we, the people from Africa, are the "vibranium". We are black, shiny, beautiful, unbreakable, impenetrable, resilient, priceless and adaptable. We will rise, as Maya Angelou said, and the time has never been better to do that than now. We must take hold of this window of Wakanda and create something real. If you are a black entrepreneur in any field, this is your time to harness the wave of global warm feelings and take your shot.

As African entrepreneurs, we have a moment in time to ride the current wave of excitement, the power around the film, to develop the products and services that can shape the continent's futures into something we had never previously been able to imagine.

If you have a book idea, a script, art, an app – then this is the moment to strike. Thanks to the movie and the changes in the political landscape in South Africa and Zimbabwe, we are sitting in a golden age.

People are looking for opportunities to connect – to each other, to the continent and to the story. If you can find a way to fulfil and meet that need with products and services, you may not have to dodge the phone calls from the banks anymore.

In the past, I have been privileged to spend a little time overseas for business, and it pained me to see how huge companies I admire and business people I respect do not generally see the opportunity in Africa. We are not even regarded as a market. But the latest surge in optimism could change that. We have the opportunity now, more than ever before, to change the course of our destiny.

Definitely there will be challenges - but, dammit: we are vibranium!

So, Wakanda entrepreneur are you?

Do you want to be like Killmonger to completely change the world? Or T'Challa to make small, iterative changes to the status quo? Or M'baku, and just mind your own business?

Either way: Wakanda forever!