As Black Panther is set to release in just a couple of weeks, more and more information is being released, growing an already massive anticipation from Marvel fanatics. IsiXhosa will be the official language of Black Panther’s Wakanda. John Kani, a South African theater giant who plays T’Chaka, the former king of Wakanda, is said to have convinced Marvel to choose his language.
IsiXhosa is a Nguni language native to Southern Africa. It is an official language in South Africa and Zimbabwe although it is also found in some parts of Lesotho. IsiXhosa is a part of the branch of Nguni languages (IsiZulu, SiSwati, and IsiNdebele.) The people (AmaXhosa) come from the kingdom of KwaXhosa. IsiXhosa is said to be a tonal language.
“It had to be in the native language of Wakanda. I chose to say something IsiXhosa in which the director and everyone in the set loved; we need that” – John Kani.
At the red carpet premiere of Black Panther, Kani was asked what the film means for Africa. He said, “Well, it deals with the myth that we would still be naked, chasing each other if the colonialists never came. It deals with the idea of how things would be if we were not interrupted.”
It will be interesting to see how African-American actors like Chadwick Boseman and others fair with IsiXhosa. It is a language characterized by clicks which are difficult to pronounce if you have a western tongue. South Africans have also been quite vocal with their disdain of Americans portraying their culture and languages.
Other South African actors in Black Panther include John Kani’s son, Atandwa Kani who plays a younger T’Chaka and veteran actress Connie Chiume who plays a nameless character who is a mining elder.
On the 31st of January, Kendrick Lamar released the full track list and the artists whose music will be featured in the movie. The list includes Khalid, The Weeknd and Travis Scott, however, South African talent such as the Gqom sensation, Babes Wodumo, and rappers Reason and Sjava also scored songs.
Black Panther has already made history, having sold more Pre-sale tickets than any other Marvel movie. It is expected to be one of the biggest movies of 2018. The highly anticipated film hits theaters on February 16. You don’t want to miss it!