It’s time for a battle of the entirely different genre heavyweights based on an entirely dumb premise. Wakanda vs. Zamunda. Two titans of the African continent. Two nations rich in history and pop cultural awareness. Zamunda was first made known to western eyes in the 1988 film Coming to America (directed by John Landis, famous for a Twilight Zone: The Movie segment) and Wakanda was first mentioned in the late 1960s in Marvel comics as T’Challa, the Black Panther, made guest appearances in The Fantastic Four and The Avengers ongoing series and comes to us now, in all its glory, in the new Marvel movie Black Panther (directed by Ryan Coogler, Fruitvale Station, Creed).
Using an unscientific system based on 100% objective subjectivity, these two countries were weighed and it’s up to you to find out who comes out on top.
King VS King
Barring the fact that T’Challa is now the king of Wakanda after his father’s murder in Captain America: Civil War, the two kings shall be compared as they were.
T’Chaka is undoubtedly a great man. Principled, strong, a leader of his people. A former bearer of the mantle of Black Panther. On the other hand, he only wears a suit. King Jaffe Joffer wears a lion skin. And a cool hat. And lots of gold jewelry. Plus, the guy sounds like Mufasa. He’s imperious, strong willed, and a beloved leader of his own people. He’s richer than rich. So is T’Chaka, but does he wear a lion? No. Jaffe Joffer might even be considered a Lion King.
Queen vs Queen
Ramonda, the queen mother of Wakanda. Aoleon, the queen of Zamunda. Amazing women who help put their countries on the right paths. They say (and They is sure a famous loudmouth when it comes to giving quotes) behind every great man is a great woman. In the case of these two stately women you can’t look for better examples.
Aoleon often gets her way with her husband, making de facto decisions, while Ramonda offers guidance in times of stress. Both have style to spare.
What else can you say about each of them but Yass?
Prince vs Prince
T’Chaka vs. Akeem. This is a tough category. Partly, because it must be broken down into subcategories of a completely arbitrary nature (mainly to keep people reading this happy and also because they’re the ones I have jokes for).
- Coming to America features Eddie Murphy in his prime. And he plays multiple characters. Great characters. Though he’d go on to inhabit more fat people than Pazuzu in a Hometown Buffet in his 90s movies, here each was a gem, coming off as real and believable even when they were ridiculous and over the top. Of course, to be fair, this depends on how much you like seeing a young black guy portraying an old Jewish man.
- Black Panther features Chadwick Boseman, a man with an impressive resume consisting of both genre work and playing heroes of the black community. He’s been both Jackie Robinson and James Brown. But has he yet assailed the heights of a Pluto Nash? A Norbit? Could he voice a cartoon donkey with a deep sexual fetish for waffles and dragons?
They’re both trained. Both can flip and jump and punch and do other things that make me tired and crave a donut just watching. Black Panther is, of course, a serious warrior. In his super suit armed with vibranium claws, he can take on the toughest crowds, groups of enemies that normal men couldn’t face. He even takes on Killmonger and the guy’s got Kill and Mong and Er right in his name. The guy killmongs as a noun. But Akeem is also a true warrior. While the Black Panther can fight waves of enemies at a time, Akeem can fight a Samuel L. Jackson with nothing but a mop handle. That’s impressive.
Akeem comically puts his foot in mouth, often to charming Winners. But it’s still a foot in the mouth. Nothing against that, by the way. Some people love that. But while it may add a little seasoned salt to the bedroom, it doesn’t make for good leadership when it comes down to it. T’challa, on the other hand, is even complimented by his father for how well he can speak on the world stage.
It all depends on what you’re looking for in a world leader. A hero who can work hard, please the people around him, and earn a woman’s affection, or Black Panther. Or really, whether you want McDowell’s or steak in your politicians. Let’s go with the sizzle.
Country vs. Country
Once again, this is a multipart entry. Sort of like a Marvel movie phase. Wink. There are so many things that go into what makes up a country, including a lot of boring stuff they used to sing about in School House Rock.
Wakanda boasts an impressive society in which women are warriors, scientists, and leaders and considered no different than men in terms of abilities or what they can contribute. Zamunda features women who will toss rose petals before your feet, bathe you, and even hop on one foot, barking like dogs if asked—the ultimate beer commercial fantasy, in other words. Though, to be fair, this is why Akeem comes to America in the first place. And Aoleon makes many of the key decisions in Zamunda. But this is all besides the point. When it comes down to it, which culture comes out on top? There’s a clear choice between scientists and royal bathers. Uh…Wakanda. Of course. Wakanda. Yes. For certain.
What can be said about the level of technology in Zamunda? Well, they’re certainly at the forefront of the 1980s. Everyone probably has cable and gets HBO and MTV included. That’s something. I don’t know about you, but I want my, I want my MTV, install microwave ovens…oh, I was writing something. Wakanda. Yes. Wakanda is space age—straight up Jetsons (Jetsons? Too obscure a pun?) tech with flying cars and bibbledy buildings and magic space metal as far as the eye can see. Can’t beat that. I’d take a flying car over a VCR any day of the week and I’m a white guy from the suburbs, so you know that’s a big deal.
Wakanda is rich. Zamunda is rich. Both are rich in culture, but also something more valuable. Filthy, dirty, sexy, cash money. Lucre. Cabbage. Jaffe Joffer tosses money around like it’s water and his son Akeem can do the same (even if it’s his best buddy, Arsenio, who spends the most of it). Now, for those of us old enough, let’s do the Wuff, wuff, wuff hand pump from the Arsenio Hall show. Feel that? It’s either nostalgia or your bones grinding away. Re: the point of this paragraph, Wakanda affords its royalty to do the same. In fact, T’Challa is probably the richest person in the MCU. So for both, a fat wallet is a fat wallet. That’s right—that statement was walletist.
In the end, which wins the arbitrary title of best fictional African nation in two different genres of movie? Wakanda, by a hair (and reason of promoting Black Panther week). Coming to America is a fun movie, if slightly retrograde to today’s sensibilities. Black Panther is a new chapter of the Marvel Universe. It offers representation and has something to say, all in a glossy, big ticket package. Plus, it has flying cars. Those are really cool.