• Amir-Hamza

Culture of Wakanda

YIMBAMBE!!! WAKANDA FOREVER!!! On a more serious note. We at CS Network love Black Panther (especially MistahIslah as he mentions in Funny Somebodies). For this article we wanna cover the culture of Wakanda and the real world influences behind it aswell as interpret other things on it culture like the different tribes Gods and the clothing or culture inspiration.

Flag of Wakanda

Starting us off is the Geography of Wakanda. According both the comics and film. Wakanda is a incredibly small isolationist landlocked Nation located in the East of African North of Lake Turkana. Bordering Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda and South Sudan. It as a diverse climate ranging from hot Savanah like grasslands, dense jungles and forests and a large mountain where it get extreme heavy snow at the highest altitudes. Whilst Youtube channel Geography Now claims Wakanda's Climate is more likely to occur if it was located more towards Central South Africa. Writer Ta-Nehisi Coates stated his stories of Wakanda are located in the eastern part of Congo. Whilst director Ryan Coogler claimed his film portrayal was mostly based on Lesotho, suggesting a more Southern African setting. It is likely the climate is caused by the alien nature of the country. See millions of years ago before the first humans were around. A meteor hit the land that would become Wakanda, the mountain of Wakanda is actually just the top of the meteor and the its likely that the unstable nature of it vibranium and other extraterrastrial materials had mutated the local plant and soil life (thus creating the dense forestation and heart shaped herbs). Wakanda itself can be considered a micronation but not quite a city state as it does possess a capital city.

Wakanda located in East Africa

The etymology for Wakanda may originates from the Kenyan Bantu tribe the Kamba (sometimes called Akamba or Wakamba) and the Kikongo word Kanda meaning "Family". Wakanda essentially could mean Family of the Kamba. Though one theory found suggests Wakanda's name is corrupted mix of "Rwanda" and "Uganda". It's capital city Birnin Zana seems to be a mix of the Hausa word Birnin meaning "city" (commonly used for Nigerian cities like Birnin Kebbi or Birnin Kudu) and Zana being a neighbourhood in Uganda. According to translations, Zana in Swahili means "a hundred". In a way Birnin Zana mean "City of a Hundred." Appropriate for the capital city of a prosperous yet small nation.

Birnin Zana the capital city of Wakanda

Language of Wakanda in the comics is Wakandan. Not a real language but based on its East African location in the comics and its pantheon being primarily based on the North African Egyptian pantheon, it is more than likely they speak an Afro-Asian Cushitic language and it is similar to other Cushitic languages such as Oromo, Somali, Beja, Sidamo or Afar. However it is more reasonable that modern Wakandan sounds similar to Bantu languages in East Africa like Swahili used in Kenya. This was changed in the film (a case of Linguistic inaccuracy due to casting choice). Coates and Cooglers more recent interpretations of Wakanda prefer the more southern African influence to the point of using Xhosa as the Wakandans primary language. Whilst it is not impossible for an East African nation to have the same language as a Southern African country it is a stretch of disbelief (like imagine Estonia having Italian as their main language or Japan having Urdu). Either way T'Chaka's actor John Kani was one of the few African born and raised actors in the main cast and was actually fluent in Xhosa so decided that T'Chaka and T'Challa should use an African language when speaking to one another in private and that lead to the Film Wakandans having Xhosa at its main language. Just as equally unusual is the Jabari Tribe who isolate themselves from the rest of Wakanda (possibly even from the world) speak Yoruba a West African Dialect (so imagine French being the main language in Poland or Arabic being used in South Korea). The best realistic explanation the MCU can have is the Wakandans are descended from multiple tribes or vice versa, the Xhosa and Yoruba are descended from early migration out of Wakanda before they adopted and enforced their strict isolationist policies. A number of Wakandans are allowed to live or visit the outside world as either War Dogs (Infiltrators), exchange students or in the modern day case out reach workers. Many of them would acquire new knowledge or technology that Wakanda may not have developed yet or thought of and relay it back to their nation allowing Wakanda to grow in knowledge and technology. As a result many adult Wakandas are most likely able to speak a language common to those from African diaspora such as English, French, (common in Africa and African Diaspora) Spanish, Portuguese (Black Latino), Arabic (Black Africans and Afro-Arabs in the Maghreb/North Africa or Mashrekis/Gulf regions) and Dutch (from the Netherlands, Surinam and South African Dutch community). Nakia shows knowledge of the Korean language aswell as she did work as a war dog in South Korea. Despite Nakia's actress Lupito Nyongo being a Kenyan and fluent in Swahili. She had to learn Hausa for the role when Nakia infiltrates Nigeria, Hausa in the comics is also stated to be one of the main languages spoken in Wakanda, despite its Nigerian origins.

Wakanda's culture is a monarchy. The Golden Tribe is a title given to the current Tribe who has earned the right to be the Royal Head of state. However the Royal families of the other tribes and leaders of the Dora Milaje are expected to attend and co-operate as part of the country's council as seen in the film to avoid the current King/Queen from abusing their power and position. In the comics the council of tribe elders are refered to as the Taifa Ngao. While the Golden Tribe has consistently been the Panther Cult, it is possible through out its history Wakanda may have had other tribes rule the throne. Gaining the right to succeed the throne is earned by combat at the waterfall in which each Royal member from each tribe can choose to fight and defeat the current or next in line King/Queen if they believe them to be unfit. They are required to fight in the style of Donga (also called Zulu or Nguni Stick fighting) using spears and shields for this ritual. This could have led to T'Challa fighting a member of each tribe one after another if they all deemed him unworthy, he could even be challenged by their family members or his own family (something that Shuri exploits for a joke and N'Jadaka also exploits this to usurp him). Typically this ritual requires most if not all of the Wakandans to attend. N'Jadaka's challange against T'Challa and ascension to the throne can be considered Illegitimate from the start as he demanded to challenge the king without the other warriors or even the Jabari's presence. It is currently unknown if Wakandan society allows the head of state to step down but considering Raymonda did not lead after T'Chaka's death and did not attempt the fight in the ritual, it is likely the next head of state is expected to prove their worth in combat. Something Raymonda probably did not want to do due to her age. She may have acted Queen after Thanos snapped away her two children. The Waterfall combat ritual requires all warriors to be depowered from any heartshaped herb enhancements, after winning they are expected to carry the mantel of Black Panther (the name could change depending on tribe and deity). It should be noted that T'Chaka whilst still king handed over the Black Panther mantel to his son before his death and was depowered during the last years of his life. This could be due to the heart shaped herb requires excessive amounts of nutrition and training to maintain the super human metabolism and physique, possibly harmful or ineffective for those at advanced ages to try and maintain the responsibility. Unlike most African countries Wakanda had never adopted Christianity or Islam, likely due to their isolationist policies they maintained their original religious beliefs in Orishas (African deities) that are mostly based of Ancient Egyptian gods. In comics the known Orishas by name are Bast, Nyami, Ptah, Mujaji, Kokou and Thoth. There is also the certain cults/tribes in the comics that worship Sobek (the Crocodile Cult/River Tribe), Sekhmet (the Lion Cult/Mining Tribe) and Ghekre/Hanuman (the Jarabi Tribe/Mountain Gorilla Cult). It is not clear who the Merchant Tribe worship though their bird motif makes it likely it is a a bird deity like Thoth or Horus. The comics claim to have up to number of 18 tribes one of which that did not appear in the film are the Hyena clan a rogue group of Wakandan thieves who poach and steal across Africa. It is likely their god would be Anubis as he is associated with Dogs (which Hyenas are related to) and have antagonistic motifs.

Wakanda's Economy uses the Wakandan Dollar according to the comics. The major resource of the country is Vibranium, they have used this mineral to turn them into one of the economically stable nations on the planet. They were isolationists only trade when needed. Vibranium is sold at $10,000 per gram, and Wakanda's sacred mound is estimated to have about have 10,000 tons of the material.

Other major resources includes uranium, coal, diamonds, but also aeronautics and aircraft manufacture Many of these materials are likely mined by the Mining tribe.

Education is highly valued in the Wakandan culture and was viewed as a fundamental building block to ancient Wakandans. The nation has one of the highest literacy rates on the planet. They have an eleven year free, compulsory cycle of primary and secondary education. At the end of this, the citizens of Wakanda have the choice in the future of their career path. Many go on to attend one of their free Universities. The citizens also have other options such as farming and mining and other such laboring professions

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