There’s no word on whether Daniel Kaluuya and Florence Kasumba’s roles in the film led to early screenings, but British-born Kaluuya’s recent success has forced Ugandans to ask tough questions on how they could better support the arts so future Kaluuya’s and Kasumba’s are born and bred at home at superheroes.

In Zimbabwe, the few cinemas Harare still has have already sold out the Feb. 16 premiere, even at $12 a ticket—pricey considering the country’s economic woes. Zimbabweans are likely keen to see actress Danai Gurira, who plays Okoye, the strongest of the Black Panther’s all-women guard Dora Milaje. Months before the film’s release, Gurira was in Zimbabwe where she greeted fans wearing Marvel T-Shirts for an event that had nothing to do with the Black Panther. Gurira tweeted that she and Nyong’o were headed to South Africa this weekend to attent the premiere.

Black Panther: African audiences join in the global hype
The film tries to embrace Africa.
Image: Marvel Studios

“It means a lot, to see Africa put on this platform, and it meant a lot to me to play a character who speaks in an African language,” said Gurira, who spent her childhood in Zimbabwe. “You just never see these things, so it’s very special to those of us who grew up on the continent, and those of us who knew how distorted or very misrepresented Africans can be.”

In South Africa, anticipation was heightened even more when rapper Kendrick Lamar tweeted the track list for the official soundtrack that featured several South African performers, including the queen Durban house music Babes Wodumo.

T’Challa’s father T’Chaka is played by Tony Award-winning South African actor John Kani, while veteran actress Connie Chiume plays a Wakanda elder. It was Kani, who introduced isiXhosa to the film as the official language of Wakanda.

On social media, Africans around the continent are planning to join in on what is becoming a global event for black culture by dressing up in their best traditional attire for the film. The excitement around the film, and the box-office sales it will likely translate to, show that a positive representation of Africa and the diaspora pays off.

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