By Bongani Ndlovu
America-based Zimbabwean actor, Danai Gurira from the global blockbuster movie Black Panther has mourned the death of fellow cast member, Chadwick Boseman, describing him as a leader, who was a kind and true friend.
Chadwick (43) who played the lead role of T’Challa in the groundbreaking superhero film Black Panther died on Friday at his home in Los Angeles after suffering from colon cancer.
A statement posted on Boseman’s Instagram account said that he learnt he had Stage 3 colon cancer in 2016 and that it had progressed to Stage 4.
In a tribute post on her Instagram and Facebook accounts on Sunday, Gurira who played Okoye in Black Panther said: “How do you honour a king? Reeling from the loss of my colleague, my friend, my brother. Struggling for words. Nothing feels adequate. I always marvelled at how special Chadwick Boseman was. Such a pure hearted, profoundly generous, regal, fun guy.”
Gurira said Chadwick was cut from a different cloth and was a people person hence he was so effective in the roles he played. Other than T’Challa, Chadwick played several historical figures such as Jackie Robinson in 42, James Brown in Get on Up and Thurgood Marshall in Marshall.
“He made everyone feel loved, heard and seen. He played great, iconic roles because he possessed inside of himself, that connection to greatness to be able to so richly bring them to life. He had a heroic spirit and marched to the beat of his own drum; hence his excellence as an artist and the incredible courage and determination as he faced life’s challenges; while still guiding us all,” said Gurira.
She said she still cannot wrap her head around his death and is sad for children who had found a hero in Chadwick through the character T’Challa.
“He was zen, sweet and funny (with the very best laugh), attentive, and truly, truly, good. I can’t even wrap my mind around this loss. A loss resonating in my own heart as well as around the globe. The children he inspired, my heart aches for them, to lose their hero just as they finally found him.
“I’m so thankful to have taken the Black Panther journey with him. To have known him, spent time in his light and leadership and to call him forever a friend,” said Gurira.
She said Chadwick made her job easy when Black Panther was being produced.
“My entire job as Okoye was to respect and protect a king. Honour his leadership. Chadwick made that job profoundly easy. He was the epitome of kindness, elegance, diligence and grace. On many an occasion, I would think how thankful I was that he was the leading man I was working closely with.
“A true class act. And so perfectly equipped to take on the responsibility of leading the franchise that changed everything for Black representation,” said Gurira.
Tailing off her message, Gurira wrote: “Lala Ngoxolo Kumkani (rest in peace Kumkani).”
A private figure by Hollywood standards, Boseman rarely publicised details about his personal life. He found fame relatively late as an actor as he was 35 when he appeared in his first prominent role as Jackie Robinson in 42. He however made up for lost time with a string of star-making performances in major biopics. The Chronicle