On the 29th of January 2018, audiences around the world were amazed watching on screen for the first time, The first Black Superhero of African descent in mainstream American comics. This movie principally features a fictional country known as Wakanda, which is home to the superhero Black Panther. In this article, we'll explore the principal Wakandan cultures which draw inspiration from real African Cultures.
So we studied some of the distinct features which differentiated the different villages of Wakanda which are LIP PLATING, SCARIFICATION and STICK FIGHTING.
Haven searched for African Cultures which resemble that similar to what is depicted in The Black Panther Movie, we came across the SURMA PEOPLE, which is a collective name referring to the people living in southwestern Ethiopia. According to Suri oral tradition, they came to their present territory about 200 years ago from the West (Sudan-Ethiopia border lands).
1) LIP PLATING.
When they are young, to beautify themselves for marriage, most women have their bottom teeth removed and their bottom lips pieced, then stretched so as to allow insertion of a clap lip plate. This has become the hallmark of the Suri. Some women have stretched their lips so as to allow plates up to sixteen inches in diameter.
Having a lip plate is a sign of female beauty and appropriateness; a common thought is that the bigger the plate, the more cattle the woman is 'worth' for her bride price, though this is denied by some.
As seen on Erik Killmonger (the main Antagonist of the Black Panther Movie), Surma people pride themselves on their scars. Women perform decorative scarification by slicing their skin with a razor blade after lifting it with a thorn. After the skin is sliced, it is left to eventually scar.
The men traditionally scarred their bodies after they killed someone from an enemy group. These rituals, which are extremely painful, are a way of getting the younger Suri used to seeing blood and feeling pain, as some say.
3) STICK FIGHTING.
Stick Fighting for the Suri is a ceremonial sport and ritual which they take very seriously. It mostly involves dueling with sticks. In most cases, this is engaged in by young men to get respect from their families and community. The fights usually take place between two villages during harvest time, draw large audiences, and start with 20 to 30 representatives of each side, all of whom get a chance to duel against someone from the other side. During these fights there are referees present to make sure the rules are being followed.
So there you have it. I would love to know your thoughts in the comments section below. Help us educate others by sharing this article. Thanks for reading through.
Muluh MG Godson.
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