International

African Union to Launch First Real Wakanda

Though the box-office hit “Black Panther” has already made history as the highest-grossing superhero film of all time, its magnetic story of a highly civilized, technologized African world is also making a huge impact upon members across the African Union.

In launching the “African Diaspora Global Bank,” members of the AU, including its ambassador to the U.S., Arikana Chihombori-Quao, will begin to construct “Wakanda I,” an extensive village on a 152-acre plot of land located in Zambia.

“We are planning on creating a village that will be built, run and operated by the African Diaspora,” said Chihombori-Quao, a medical doctor by trade. “This village will feature all the components of a regular city including hospitals, industrial homes, shopping amenities and stores.

“You know, when you talk about a ‘good Africa’ or returning home, many people say ‘Well, [Africa] is not what I’m used to,’ and to that I always tell them, ‘Then build the home you want,” she said. “We don’t even realize we are on autopilot waiting for the White man to build this ‘civilization’ for us. So we are taking our destiny into our own hands and creating something built for and by the people of the African diaspora.”

Set to officially launch in April, applicants will be able to register through a fund and buy shares that will help bring the idea of Africa’s first “Wakanda” to life. Through the fund, members of the African diaspora will be able to manage their own budget.

Chihombori-Quao said in order to manage corruption, those wishing to work in the village must follow “strict rules of engagement.”

“To operate the new village, it is very important to us to ensure that people follow strict rules of engagement, because you see, whether I am sitting here as an ambassador or not, this program will continue on because it truly will be run by the African diaspora, which is huge,” Chihombori-Quao said. “You know, when I was a little girl, I never foresaw myself in such a role as this. I saw myself as a nurse. … I grew up in apartheid in Zimbabwe and my options were a teacher, a nurse, a farmworker or a maid. So I tell people anything is possible and to just look at me — the little girl who used to run around outside barefoot.”

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Lauren M. Poteat

Lauren Poteat is a versatile writer with a strong background in communications and media experience with an additional background in education and development.

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