Note: Wakanda Forever

Wakanda is a country, albeit a fictional country created in the Marvel Comic Universe, and appears in our databases as a geographic descriptor. The idea and image of Wakanda has become a cultural force with the Black Panther movie in 2018, and as a metaphor embodies both Afrocentric and Pan-Africanist ideals. The “Wakanda Forever” salute has become prominent in African-American cultural and political expression, beginning in the 2018 US elections.

The ambiguity of the location and cultural history of Wakanda is one element that subtly promotes its Pan-Africanism. Usually, Wakanda is located just north of Lake Turkana, at a point bordering Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, and South Sudan, or alternately on the coast of Lake Victoria. Vegetation shown in the movie so far is more typical of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, arguing for a Central African location. In some scenes Xhosa language is spoken as the native tongue of Wakandans: today only spoken in South Africa, once it was in Central Africa. At the same time, Wakanda is the center of surviving ancient Egyptian religions, characterizing Wakanda as the heir to the Pharaonic civilization of ancient Egypt.