Posted February 28, 2018 by GP Manalo in Movies/TV

The Cultural Influences of Marvel’s Black Panther

7. Shamanism in Wakanda



Forest Whitaker as Zhuri. Photo Courtesy of Walt Disney Pictures.

Forest Whitaker’s Zhuri is an elder shaman of Wakanda or the spiritual leader of the city. When it comes to Shamanism in African cultures, it does seem like they have taken many different influences for Wakanda’s very own. Perhaps the direct influence the film’s shamanism seems to follow from was Sangomas Shamanism in South Africa; the practice of having a holistic yet symbolic form of spiritual healing.

 The idea of ancestors being a guide in the afterlife and the land of the living is rooted in their beliefs. Much like the Sangomas, Zhuri can direct rituals, honors the ancestors, healing, divination, and be keepers of the old knowledge (history and tradition). Sangomas also work with plant medicine or herbalism, again much like Zhuri where he makes concoctions with the source of the Black Panther’s strength and agility (the heart shaped herb), a potion that counters it by stripping it away during ceremonial challenges, and a ritual that could help the Black Panthers enter the ancestral plane.



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African Mystics

GP Manalo

G.P. Manalo is a student by day, and a resident tortured writer by night. Writing to keep him sane from all the Business School papers and presentations piling up each week.