A challenge started in Harlem, New York, several months ago resulted in 120 schoolchildren in Pretoria being inspired yesterday by one of the superhero movie genre’s brightest stars.
“As a black child, this movie has taught me that I can be anything I want to be and so much more,” said an excited Calvin Mavttiungu, 16, after watching Black Panther on Human Rights Day.
He was one of 120 pupils in grades 10 and 11 from schools in Mamelodi, Midrand and GaRankuwa who were invited by the US Chargé d’Affaires, Jessye Lapenn, to watch the movie with her at Brooklyn Mall yesterday.
Lapenn said they were keeping the #BlackPantherChallenge campaign alive to take young people to watch this superhero film.
The challenge, started by Frederick Joseph as a GoFundMe campaign so that young members of the Boys and Girls Club in Harlem, New York, would have the opportunity to see the film, has taken the world by storm.
“We want to inspire the dynamic young [pupils] with whom we engage, to take even greater leadership roles in their communities. In the spirit of Wakanda, we have encouraged the students to showcase their African pride by attending the screening wearing traditional clothes,” Lapenn said.
Virginia Manganye and Chantel Moagi, both 16, said they loved the fact that the film features South African actors. They were excited to meet Yugen Blakrok, one of the South African artists featured in the movie’s soundtrack.
“There are many white superheroes … but today we learned that black people can also be superheroes and do special things,” said Manganye.
Commenting on the fact that the screening took place on Human Rights Day, Blakrok said the day was not supposed to only be a day to mourn those who died for freedom.
“We should also celebrate life and freedom and what better way than to spend it with children watching this special film. It is such a privilege to be part of it,” said Blakrok.
Several SA actors feature in the blockbuster. Xhosa is the language of Wakanda and American costume designer Ruth E Carter was inspired by the diversity of African cultures, including Zulu and Ndebele fashion.
American hip-hop artist Kendrick Lamar featured four SA artists in the movie’s soundtrack.