I haven’t seen Black Panther yet. Though Dar has movie cinemas, we don’t have people to look after our kids so we can go! I’ve been following a bit of the coverage though, and was interested to see Trevor Noah make some casual comments about how gender hierarchy and equality are conceived of differently in the film, and perhaps more in line with traditional African structures.
About 2mins in to his interview with Lupita Nyong’o, he says:
These women are kicking ass in different roles in Wakanda and they’re all individuals… And I think that a lot of people who are history buffs, who study African culture who said what they loved was that Black Panther felt it felt like a tip of the hat to African culture as it was intended, where people were equal even though it was a patriarchal society, where people were going, like no no no, women served a different role at some point, women had more in different cultures.
I guess this is what Tanzanian women are getting at when they insist that hierarchy is not abusive, and what was at least in part behind our language tutor’s comments about husband and wife beating. I’m excited to see the film to give me more fodder as I continue to learn about this issue.
Tamie Davis is an Aussie living in Tanzania, writing at meetjesusatuni.com.