Not only is Black Panther Marvel’s most emotionally satisfying film to date, it also has some of its best characters. From Killmonger to Shuri, the movie is filled with characters that are easy to love; but one character that seems to have really stood out — particularly amongst Nigerians — is M’Baku.
M’Baku, your favourite Igbo uncle
Played by Winston Duke, an incredibly charismatic Tobagonian actor, M’Baku is the leader of the distant Jabari mountain tribe and one of the movie’s three antagonists. Duke describes M’Baku as “a self-professed man of deep integrity”.
With M’Baku’s penchant for laughing at his own jokes, a strong sense of self and a distinctly Igbo accent, it’s not hard to see why Nigerians have gravitated towards him so much — he is very likely to remind you of your favourite Igbo uncle.
In a bid to separate M’Baku and the Jabari people from the rest of Wakandans, who all had South African-inspired accents, Winston researched and imitated Nigerian accents — specifically Igbo accents. Well, Winston clearly did his homework because he absolutely nailed it.
Speaking with Carib Press about his Igbo-inspired accent, Winston said:
“I do more of a Nigerian Igbo influence. It’s not Igbo, but it’s influenced by Igbo because the rest of the cast is doing South African Xhosa.
We wanted something that had its own personality and had its own beauty. So we referenced Igbo, and that helped. The rhythm of that language influenced it.”