On Wednesday night it was discovered that the fictional country of Wakanda (the setting of the 2018 blockbuster movie Black Panther) was listed on the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) tariff tracking list of free trade partners.
According to BBC Africa, the listing was discovered by a software engineer by the name of Francis Tseng, who stumbled upon the gaffe while conducting research for a fellowship. What’s perhaps even stranger, is that the list included detailed information about items that had been traded between the US and a non-existent Wakanda, including donkeys, cows, fresh vegetables, covfefe coffee and more.
Tseng took to Twitter to share his findings, later telling Reuters that he was was confused after seeing Wakanda listed.”[I] thought I misremembered the country from the movie and got it confused with something else.”
Shortly after the listing was discovered, the USDA removed it, stating that Wakanda’s inclusion on the list was a mistake from the start and part of “testing.” USDA spokesperson Mike Illenberg told The Washington Post that the department was “using test files to ensure that the system is running properly.”
“The Wakanda information should have been removed after testing and has now been taken down,” he added, but not before the media and internet got a hold of the mixup, prompting several jokes and remarks about the US being in a trade war with Wakanda. Both “Wakanda” and “vibranium” are currently trending on Twitter.
This isn’t even the first instance of Wakanda being mistaken for a real country and published as such for the world to see. Back in 2017 British Airways’ in-flight magazine listed the fictional nation as the home country of lead actress Lupita Nyong’o.
As one might have noticed, the current state of American politics, is worrisome (to say the absolute least) so it appears the Wakanda free trade news has brought about some much-needed comedic relief. Check out some responses to the mixup below.