Seriously Geeky Sundays – Around the World in 8 Sundays [Africa]

Happy Sunday to you! Or should I say isonto elijabulisayo?

Today is the final stop in the Seriously Geeky Sundays trip around the world, in which we learned about all kinds of fandoms from around the world. The Captain of this great ship was Heather, and the ship was the great, unsinkable (literally, not like Titanic) Just Geeking By… a website you should jolly well check out! And now, I must bless the rains dowwwwn in Affffricaaaa!!!

It’s the final Around the Sundays theme and our Seriously Geeky Sundays ship has reached its final destination; Africa!

Question 1 – What is your favourite fandom set in Africa?

I do love Black Panther, and who doesn’t, really?

Played with great aplomb by the late, great Chadwick Boseman, King T’Challa of Wakanda (a secretive, technologically advanced nation) is the titular Black Panther, a powerful warrior made strong by a mysterious heart-shaped herb and festooned with technology.

T’Challa first drops into the Marvel Cinematic Universe in Captain America: Civil War, when Cap’s longtime friend turned unwitting assassin Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier is framed for a bombing that killed T’Challa’s old man. From there, once Bucky is off the hook, Black Panther fully teams up with the rest of the heroes, having his own movie and a central role in Infinity War, before being “blipped” out of existence as the end of that movie, then coming back for the final battle in Endgame.

With Chadwick’s tragic death last year, what direction will this awesome fandom go in next?

Question 2 – Who are your favourite fictional African characters?

Okay so I already gave Black Panther a mention, but I have to tell you about my favourite character, M’baku, the chieftain of Wakanda’s insular and warlike Jabari tribe. Played by Winston Duke, we first meet M’baku when his clan come down from the mountains to challenge T’Challa’s ascension to the throne with an epic ritual battle, which he loses.

He later returns for the big final battle against the movie’s big bad, Killmonger, siding with the good guys in an epic rumble. Whilst the other clans use super hi-tech gear and…er… giant rhinoceros, the Jabari just lay into the bad guys with good, old fashioned melee weapons, the fearless legends!

I also quite liked the African warlord bloke from the last Independence Day movie. Yeah, it wasn’t the best received movie, but that character had a rather charming arc!

Question 3 – Africa is a popular setting for video games; have you played any of them?

Whenever I think of Africa in video games, my mind always goes to the North Africa set missions in Medal of Honor: Underground. Though limited by PlayStation era graphics, Dreamworks Interactive did a fantastic job of capturing the atmosphere and feel of the desert. Your character, French saboteur Manon, gets up to all sorts in this neck of the woods, including disguising as a photographer to infiltrate the Afrika Corps lines, sneaking about in a sandstorm and, amusingly, running around Casablanca, shooting Nazis wearing fez hats. They were my favourite missions in a really good game.

Question 4 – We’ve been exploring fictional countries with this series and there are more fictional countries attributed to Africa than any other continent. What are your thoughts on this?

I suspect ignorance might have something to do with this. How many African countries can the average person in the west name? Probably not that many, I’ll warrant. I’ve seen video games which say missions are set in Africa, instead of the actual country they’re in, whereas missions set in the USA are super specific as to which state, or even city, they’re in. It’s very strange.

On top of this, many African nations have pasts rife with problematic colonial interference, so I suspect countries like Wakanda were invented to strip European interference out, and let African culture exist unimpeded, which definitely is an admirable idea. African culture in it’s purest form is really worth talking about.

Question 5 – Africa is home to Egypt and ancient Egypt has been given the pop-culture treatment many times. Which has been your favourite?

I always quite enjoyed Stargate, that classic ’90s sci-fi movie starring James Spader and Kurt Russell. It kind of took the old “ancient aliens” conspiracy theory and fleshed it out, coming up with a compelling, crazy story about the titular inter-dimensional gateway, and the special forces team sent through it to see what’s what.

Where’s his mullet!? I DON’T LIKE IT!!!

Turns out that said ancient aliens are “what”, and they’re naturally an unpleasant lot, with hi-tech weaponry and a penchant for slavery. Lucy Kurt’s on the job to sort them all out… even without his legendary mullet.

Question 6 – Which actors from Africa do you like?

First up, the ever-imposing Peter Mensah, who was in Spartacus for most of it’s run as Doctore, and, perhaps more famously, the guy that gets Spartan kicked into that pit at the start of 300. You know, the “This! Is! Sparta!” bit.

Next up, Chiwitel Ejiofor. I first encountered him in Serenity, in which he played the well-spoken but menacing Federation Agent, a deadly assassin with a katana who nearly gave Captain Mal a sorting out for good. He’s also been fantastic in Doctor Strange and 12 Years a Slave, and even gave a decent turn as Scar in the divisive Lion King remake. Shame he didn’t do a proper Be Prepared though.

Danai Gurira… I’ve sung her praises before. All I need to say is General Okoye and Michonne, right?

Danai Gurira as Michonne, Kevin Carroll as Virgil – The Walking Dead _ Season 10, Episode 13 – Photo Credit: Eliza Morse/AMC

Then we have Djimon Honsou, a versatile and talented actor that has appeared in everything from Gladiator to Shazam, with two MCU movies thrown into his impressive list too. Always a fan of Djimon, I even liked White Elephant, an action movie where a weirdly cockney Kevin Bacon is his mate.

There are so many more out there, too, this is hardly an extensive list, just a few of my favourites. Africa has so many fantastic performers out there who need to be checked out!

And that’s it, we’ve run down the clock on another exciting episode! I sure hope you enjoyed it, and maybe picked up some new bits of information about the cradle of life, Africa. As always, check out all of the other writers under the #SeriouslyGeekySundays hashtag, they’re out of this world!

See you all next time, gang!

9 thoughts on “Seriously Geeky Sundays – Around the World in 8 Sundays [Africa]

Add yours

  1. Can’t go wrong with Black Panther for Africa. I do have some issues, but it’s a fine choice. It’s a shame that Africa is SOOOOOOOOO misrepresented and stereotyped. Watching African cinema has been so fascinating as I’ve been getting into the works of Ousmane Sembene and even some Nollywood films. A very fascinating Kenyan film is Maasai: The Rain Warriors which was a interesting African fantasy work. Neria was a very good film from Zimbabwe of all places and the theme song by Oliver Mtuzudzi is just beautiful.

    Danai Gurira is a great choice. Chiwetel Ejiofor is a good actor, too. His roles in Serenity as you mentioned and Talk to Me were spot on…I just wish he would stay away from Disney and I’ll leave it at that. Another good African actor is Fatoumara Diawara (also a very talented musician)

    You make a good point about a lot of people in the West not knowing about multiple African nations. Then again, a lot of Americans aren’t good at geography to begin with even when it comes to American geography. I remember one time in high school where two students didn’t know what state Omaha was in. Another thing is that directors need to be specific about countries, locales, and various communities. I hate how the continent either looks like a war zone, mud huts, jungles, and safaris. Even more infuriating when they don’t have the courage to actually show African characters involved. Tarzan and The Lion King? I rest my case. This is something I’m definitely passionate about and I’ve never even been to the continent.

    I do wish Africa had better representation and research in the mainstream.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Totally agree! Hollywood’s portrayal of African nations is always the same, dated stuff and it’s very dull, go say the least. I’m pretty sure African nations have things like CITIES that they can set movies in?

    And yeah, the whole Tarzan/Great White Saviour thing is done to death, let’s have some badass African heroes saving Africa, shall we?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Winst0lf! It’s dated and also amorphous. Not all of Africa looks the same. You have tropical areas, mountainous regions, beaches, and desert regions just to name a few. Yes, and there are multiple cities that people can film in that are safe to do so and are very modern. I can name multiple examples…

      -Kigali, Rwanda
      -Dakar, Senegal
      -Brazzaville, ROC
      -Kampala, Uganda
      -Nairobi, Kenya
      -Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania
      -Accra, Ghana

      And that’s just the tip of the iceberg! They never show those or other locales of Africa in the West which is a shame. I’ve even been exposed to various YouTubers like Miss Trudy and Wode Maya who do travel vlogs in several of those countries and I was amazed with the places they went to including countries I didn’t think about like Sierra Leone, Burundi, or even Eswatini (FKA Swaziland) of all places!

      Re: Tarzan/Great White Savio(u)r issue: YES! THANK YOU! You have no idea how much I appreciate others realizing how problematic that implication is. Definitely agree with some African heroes saving the day. As cool as Wakanda is, I think it would be amazing to see real countries represented with some heroes whether they are superpowered or not. Come to think of it, the only African superhero character that I can think of that is from a real African nation is Storm who is Kenyan.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Ah yeah, forgot about Storm, she’s a good example! I think another problem is that the west only heard of countries in Africa in relation to crises and that never goes away, like Sierra Leone, Rwanda and Somalia are just these eternal warzones and playgrounds for white armies in people’s consciousness, as like you say, Sierra Leone sounds like it’s doing much better these days.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yup! She’s a good character. You make a good point. Yes, Somalia has it’s issues currently which I don’t deny, but Rwanda and Sierra Leone are both past their war-torn situations. Rwanda for example dramatically improved. Kigali is one of the cleanest cities on the planet and also one of the safest. They even have corona-bots taking care of COVID patients as well as having some tech startups as part of this “Silicon Savanna” movement alongside Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania. Freetown, Sierra Leone looks like an interesting place to visit from what I saw in those travel vlogs.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Ignorance is rife, but hopefully over time things might improve! It’s weird how countries and stuck in time, and always at their worst, in the eyes of the media. Like people thinking my neck of the woods is still in the Victorian times, or the US is still cowboys, very odd!

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I hear you right there. It’s something that I hope for when it comes to people knowing better and doing better. It’s quite unfortunate with how media can distort things or think that certain places are still the same after a war or major disaster.

        Were you referring to Americans thinking that where you’re from in England still looks Victorian? If so, then I’m sorry that some ignorant people from my home country think that way. Even I know not all of England looks or even sounds the same. One time, I had to explain to someone about the differences between a London accent compared to Manchester and Liverpool or how there’s a Birmingham in England and not just in Alabama (of course, you pronounce the “h” and emphasize the “a” when you talk about the American city) when I was wearing shirt that had the name of that Midlands city with 0121 on it.

        We certainly have some cowboys in America and people who want to be like John Wayne (sadly enough, and don’t get me started on the political ramifications of that), but it’s not like the Western movies. Most cowboys people talk about are Dallas’s team in the NFL. Hahaha! XP

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Haha never apologize for anyone’s views on the UK, there’s enough ignorance exported from this country these days to warrant some back in return!

        And yeah, I always remembered Birmingham Alabama from Black Betty’s lyrics, weird point of reference but there we go 😂

        And from what I can see, cowboying seems to be a bit of a right wing affair these days yeaaaaaah

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Sure thing. I tend to apologize a lot and need to get rid of that habit. Of course, I don’t think that way about the UK being stuck in the Victorian era though.

        Makes sense. Haha! Although the Birmingham in England is roughly 5 times bigger population wise compared to the one in Alabama. Yes, the Alabama city is actually named after the Second City much like other cities in America.

        Yeah…It’s been a thing with that mindset for quite some time now. Going back to Africa since you mentioned cowboys, I’m still trying to figure out why jet black cowboy attire is a thing in the Botswana death metal music scene. That’s a thing. They even got metal spikes on jackets and everything even in the arid Southern African climate. However, they’ve got great bands if you’re into that kind of music.

        Like

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