John Kani has praised the impact his blockbuster Hollywood film Black Panther will have on the African child and women, claiming it will re-establish the truth that women are the custodians of African culture.
Speaking to media at a roundtable discussion ahead of the film’s release this past weekend, John paid tribute to women in the film. He said the belief that African culture was patriarchal is false and was created by people who wanted to exploit women.
“Women are the custodians of our culture. We men just drop these babies and we go. We come back and they are old men and old women. We make one speech and they are married and we are gone again. The African culture has never been a patriarchal society. It is a concept that is being exploited by the modern African who wants to exploit women. In the old days, my grandmother called the shots at home, as my mother called the shots. This movie gives that opportunity to see women in a different role. To see women in charge and in command.”
Black Panther features several strong female characters, including a spy, inventor and several warriors. Local actress Connie Chiume plays the role of a tribal leader in the movie and said it was important that young women see themselves represented.
“This film has given us something as women. You are going to see women superheroes. There are three women that are superheroes according to me. I think it will encourage us to start writing more about ourselves. It is going to change the perspective we have and how people view us,” Connie said.
She said it was time for African heroes to be celebrated as much as their American counterparts.
“I am so inspired by this movement that encourages young kids to go see the movie. The theme is a hero that looks like me. It doesn’t matter where you come from, even from the most remote area, you can be what you want to be. Now they have a point of reference to say: ‘If this person can do it, I can do it. I can speak their language, I can touch them.'”