Watching the Black Panther film that gripped the world with its Wakanda craze, portraying a fictional innovation valley in Africa, left me comparing the two men.
What else do Boseman (or more aptly T’Challa) and Mutambara have in common? Science. One is fiction, Wakanda; the other is somewhat fiction, but only because Mutambara never pursued his career in robotics. Yes, that also-ran politician is a robotics graduate.
What if Mutambara had taken robotics a step closer to his fellow Merton alumni? This British alma mater - Merton College at Oxford - has a knack of producing outliers who have collected a few Nobel Prizes. In 1921, Frederick Soddy received a Nobel Prize in chemistry, Nikolaas Tinbergen matched that in 1973, but for physiology, followed by Anthony James Leggett for physics in 2003.
What if Mutambara had set out to establish a real Wakanda when he graduated? Why not now?
My senseless musing was more strident on Wednesday when a Wakanda-like headline blazed the African skyline. Californian company Zipline International claimed the mantle of being the world’s largest medical drone delivery service, taking its business to another African country: Ghana.
“We really want to show that the right technology company with the right mission can help every person on the planet,” said chief executive Keller Rinaudo.