About 45 miles northwest of downtown Chicago is a town of 13,603 people. It is home to a Bog Nature Preserve which is a National Natural Landmark. It has a small airport, a Main Street Library, and has a two-day summer rodeo every year to raise funds for the village.
The name of the town is also pronounced exactly like the fictional nation in the blockbuster movie Black Panther.
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Wauconda, Illinois doesn’t receive a lot of attention. Although it is spelled differently than Wakanda, they two are pronounced the same.
Because of this, people have been calling the village administration department making references to the film.
“Someone called and asked how we pronounced the village name and when I told him, he began yelling, ‘Wakanda forever!’ which I am guessing is from the film,” Alise Homola, executive assistant to the village administrator and mayor, told the Hollywood Reporter.
People have also been calling in and asking about vibranium, the fictional metal found in Wakanda and which Black Panther uses for his suit.
“At first, I was like, is there a full moon out?” said Homola.
And folks have definitely been having fun with the phonetic pronunciation on Twitter.
I used to go apple picking in Wakanda.
No,wait; I used to go apple picking in Wauconda.
— John (@John26649305) February 22, 2018
I’m relegated to data entry after putting in my two weeks.
I’m changing all of our clients addresses who live in Wauconda,IL to Wakanda #BlackPanther
— JTA (@Jay20two) February 2, 2018
I was telling my mom how much I loved Black Panther today. My mom: "It just keeps throwing me when they talk about BP being from Wauconda." Which is when I remembered the Chicago suburb of that name. 😂 (She knows it's Wakanda! My mom's hip. She just hears the name she knows.)
— Amy Jo Cousins (@_AJCousins) February 20, 2018
Watching the Olympics and the announcer just said this ski jumper was from “Wauconda, Illinois,” hilariously pronounced “Wakanda.”
— Shan (@techlawbae) February 17, 2018
And some noticed that besides how they’re pronounced, Wakanda and Wauconda are pretty, pretty, pretty different places.
#ThursdayThoughts, #BlackPanther edition; As a black man in #America, I would love to visit #Wakanda (100 percent black). Unfortunately, it doesn't exist. *sigh* So, in an effort to realize my dreams, I may go see the movie dashiki-style in #Wauconda (0.74% black).
Or not. 😢
— Steve Mayberry (@SteveMayberry) February 1, 2018
Is anyone else from Illinois going to have a difficult time watching #TheBlackPanther w/out mentally referring to the Chicago suburb when they mention the stunning nation in the film? 😂😂😂 Can't wait to see it! #Wakanda vs Wauconda. #photo pic.twitter.com/8CpeKg8q24
— Laurice Marier (@TheRealLaurice) February 18, 2018
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The village has no plans to change the spelling of the town or to create any touristy-focused events about the film. But considering that Black Panther is already taking over the world, maybe they could take a note from the people of Metropolis, IL.