[OPINION] Why 'Black Panther' is necessary

Refilwe Pitjeng says it felt good to watch a movie in which people who looked like her were portrayed as heroines and heroes.

The Wakanda nation ('Black Panther' enthusiasts) at Rosebank Prestige Cinema. Picture: Refilwe Pitjeng/EWN.

Listen up. I've been excited about watching the movie Black Panther ever since I saw T'Challa (played by Chadwick Boseman) in the movie Captain America: Civil War when his father was killed.

I thought to myself “Hello! Who is this fine looking black man?”

The response to Black Panther has so far been enthusiastic and was evident in the effort people took with their outfits when attending screenings of the movie.

Black Panther is so much more than just another Marvel blockbuster. Not only because it’s the first that’s based on a black African superhero, but because the film builds on this concept in a deep and authentic way.

They say behind every strong black man is a strong black woman, and I liked the fact that women were advisors and part of the army in the movie.

The scene where Okoye (played by Danai Gurira), wearing a deep red dress (a colour associated with power, strength and energy) throws her wig at the man she’s about to give a beating is my favourite because it represented the versatility of black women's hair and how they need no permission from anyone on their hairstyle choices.

It was also a classic move where if a black woman takes off her wig or earrings, then you know the person is about to get a proper beat down!

The implicit statement in both the film’s theme and its casting is that there is a connection, however weak and complicated, among the continent’s scattered descendants.

From start to finish, the movie strives to represent Africa as the culturally rich place it is, adopting its history, folklore, showcasing not only its raw minerals but other attributes and heroic elements in a way that’s both empowering and entertaining.

For instance, the scene where T'Challa has to fight for the throne shows how Africans respect and follow their cultural rituals and beliefs.

Black Panther is necessary. It’s necessary for representation especially in a world where diversity is so often treated as an act of charity instead of a reality. This film challenges the universal idea that heroes can only be white and male.

It felt good to see people who looked like me, brown people, being portrayed as heroines and heroes, wise people and scientists, and not slaves and being oppressed somehow, as is normally the narrative surrounding black people.

It was liberating to watch. But if you are looking for an aggressively deep storyline then The Birth of a Nation and 12 Years a Slave are better options.

This movie had a typical Marvel theme in that ‘good always wins over bad’ which is a great message to send, especially to children. Is it worth an Oscar award? It's a yes from me.