Since its first appearance in Fantastic Four #52 and the first live appearance in captain america civil war, Black Panther has become an important figure in the Marvel Universe. Black Panther is the mantle given to the ruler of an imaginary African country called Wakanda. It is one of the most technologically developed cities in the world. and remains hidden with the help of its masking by advanced technology. Its many technologies are the result of an indestructible extraterrestrial element called vibranium.
…And when the time of man came, five tribes settled there and called it Wakanda. The tribes lived in constant war with each other until a warrior shaman received a vision from the panther goddess Bast… the warrior became king and the first Black Panther – the protector of Wakanda.
They do this to protect themselves, their culture and their people from the evils of the rest of the world. In the MCU, Wakanda consists of five tribes, four of which are united under the rule of the first Black Panther 10,000 years ago. In Wakanda, there are five tribes – border, merchant, mining, river and Jabari. Their main deities are Hanuman, for the Jabari, and Bast, for everyone else. The lords of each tribe sit on the king’s council and assist the king in the country’s political affairs. In the comics, the royal family was considered part of the “Tribe of Panthers” or “The Golden Tribe”. But that’s not the case with the MCU.
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Let’s examine them one by one.
1. The River Tribe
The River Tribe of Wakanda is wearing their green crocodile skin clothes, with some men wearing lip plates – a disc inserted into a hole drilled into their enlarged lower lip. They worship the panther goddess – Bast. The River Tribe was one of five tribes that fought each other after the Vibranium meteorite crashed in what became Wakanda. Finish, Bashenga- the first Black Panther, ended the conflict between them and united them into one.
2. The Tribe of Miners
The Mining Tribe is responsible for extracting, storing and using vibranium from underground Wakanda. They wear traditional red and orange colored dresses with large headdresses. They also worship the panther god – Raffia. For the comics, The Mining Tribe seemed to have influences from the Himba and Maasai East African people.
3. The Commercial Tribe
The Commercial Tribe of Wakanda is responsible for crafts and arts and crafts, clothing and artwork. They also wear veils over their faces while negotiating to maintain anonymity and are also sometimes referred to as – The But u. They also worship the panther god – Bast. In Wakanda’s prehistory, as the comics tell, the ancestors of the merchant tribe fought for many years for the possession of the land against other tribes. The tribe eventually merged with another tribe and formed the larger Masu people. Its traditional color is purple. They are based on Tuareg peoples of the Saharan and Sahelian regions of Africa.
4. The Border Tribe
Border Tribe is just outside the Wakanda border. They mainly pose as farmers to deceive outsiders about Wakanda’s wealth, as well as their talent for raising white rhinos for many purposes. This tribe also acts as the nation’s shield against foreign threats, ensuring that no intruders enter Wakanda uninvited. They also worship the panther god – Bast.
Your people possess vibranium-based cloaks with protection and camouflage functions. Its traditional color is blue. In addition, some members of this tribe practice scarification that is, adorning their faces with various scars and marks. One of the members of this tribe W’Kabi (Phil Morris) was introduced as a close friend and counselor to T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) in the movie Black Panther.
5. The Jabari Tribe
Jabari Tribe (or J’Abari or Mountain Tribe) follows the worship of the god white gorilla Hanuman. They are very staunch traditionalists and live in the mountains of Wakanda, isolated from the rest of the tribe and the Black Panther royal council. They follow a more primitive lifestyle and wear brown and white colors in honor of the white monkey.
This tribe has a strong tradition of woodworking and agriculture. The language they speak, as seen in the MCU, is in a Yoruba dialect. While other tribes and the royal family speak in xhosa dialect. They are inspired by Karo Ethiopian tribe and the Dogon Malian people.
Their leader M’Baku (Duke Winston), initially opposed Black Panther and his rule over Wakanda, however he later joined forces with T’Challa to defeat N’Jadaka aka Eric Killmonger. (Michale B. Jordan). He also participated with his tribe in the Battle of Wakanda against Thanos’ army.
There’s one more movie – Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, and two series – wakanda and okyewho could elaborate more on the cultures and meaning of these tribes in Wakanda and MCU.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever will be released worldwide on November 11, 2022.