Movies

15 African Tribes And Cultures Featured In Black Panther’s Wakanda

'Black Panther' not only thrilled audiences with its superhero narrative but also served as a visual love letter to the diverse and vibrant cultures of Africa.

Black Panther Wakanda in Africa
Marvel Studios' BLACK PANTHER [NBC News]L to R: Okoye (Danai Gurira) and Ayo (Florence Kasumba) with the Dora MilajePh: Film Frame©Marvel Studios 2018

In the realm of cinematic marvels, one film stood out not only for its action-packed scenes and compelling storyline but also for its celebration of African tribes, diversity, and cultural richness. Marvel’s Black Panther’ brought to the screen a stunning array of African tribes and cultures, showcasing their distinct body arts, fashion pieces, and traditions. From lip plates to vibrant costumes, the movie paid homage to the following 15 African tribes and cultures, bringing their essence to life in the fictional world of Wakanda.

Here are 15 African tribes featured in Black Panther.

Mursi and Surma Lip Plates (Ethiopia)

Mursi and Surma Lip Plates (Ethiopia)
Mursi and Surma Lip Plates (Ethiopia) [The Guardian Nigeria]

The Surma and Mursi tribes of Ethiopia are renowned for their striking lip plates, a form of ceremonial body modification. These captivating ornaments were featured in “Black Panther,” adding a unique flair to the film’s aesthetic.

Zulu Headdress (South Africa)

Zulu Headdress (South Africa)
Zulu Headdress (South Africa) [Luangisa African Gallery]

Queen Ramonda’s majestic Zulu headdress captured the essence of South Africa’s Zulu culture. Reminiscent of the iconic reed Zulu flared hats, the headdress exemplified regal beauty.

Maasai Costumes (Kenya and Tanzania)

Maasai Costumes (Kenya and Tanzania)
Maasai Costumes (Kenya and Tanzania) [SchoolForAfrica]

The Maasai people’s vibrant culture from East Africa was brought to life through their costumes in the movie. Their distinct ornamentation and futuristic designs added depth to the film’s visual appeal.

Igbo Mask (Nigeria)

Igbo Mask (Nigeria)
Igbo Mask (Nigeria) [Tumblr]

Erik Killmonger’s portrayal in an Igbo mask showcased the grandeur of Igbo culture. The bold masculine features of the Mgbedike mask contrasted the film’s aesthetics with a touch of masculine elegance.

Basotho Blanket (Lesotho)

Basotho Blanket (Lesotho)
Basotho Blanket (Lesotho) [Mr X Stitch]

Worn by characters like W’Kabi, the Basotho blankets hailing from Lesotho were featured prominently. Their presence added an authentic touch to the characters’ attire.

Ndebele Neck Rings (Zimbabwe/South Africa)

Ndebele Neck Rings (Zimbabwe/South Africa)
Ndebele Neck Rings (Zimbabwe/South Africa) [Pinterest]

Shuri and Dora Milaje donned Ndebele neck rings, embodying the distinctive South Ndebele culture. These neck rings are an integral part of the traditional dress of this region.

Himba’s Otjize (Namibia)

Himba's Otjize (Namibia)
Himba’s Otjize (Namibia) [Pinterest]

The movie’s costumes featured a reddish hue, inspired by the Himba people of Namibia. Their practice of applying the red ochre paste, known as “otjize,” found its way onto the big screen.

Agbada (West and North Africa)

Agbada (West and North Africa)
Agbada (West and North Africa) [The Guardian Nigeria]

Shaman Zuri’s ornate Agbada robes showcased the elegance of West and North African fashion. The flowing, wide-sleeved robe added an air of sophistication to the character’s appearance.

Dogon Masks (Mali)

Dogon Masks (Mali)
Dogon Masks (Mali) [Masks of the World]

Drawing inspiration from the Dogon people of Mali, the movie incorporated intricate Dogon masks. These masks pay homage to the Dogon’s artistic heritage.

Tuareg Scarves (North and West Africa)

Tuareg Scarves (North and West Africa)
Tuareg Scarves (North and West Africa) [momo Africa]

Many characters sported head-covering scarves reminiscent of those worn by the Tuareg people. These scarves added an enigmatic aura to the characters’ looks.

Turkana Fashion Sense (Kenya)

 African Tribes: Turkana Fashion Sense (Kenya)
Turkana Fashion Sense (Kenya) [A TRIP DOWN MEMORY LANE]

The Turkana people’s unique fashion sense, rooted in Kenya, contributed to the movie’s cultural diversity. Their distinct styles added depth and variety to the film’s aesthetic.

Yoruba Traditions (Nigeria)

Yoruba Traditions (Nigeria)
Yoruba Traditions (Nigeria) [World Atlas]

Not just a fictional nation, Wakanda also drew inspiration from the Yoruba people of Nigeria. Elements of Yoruba culture were subtly woven into the film’s narrative.

San Bushmen Influence (Southern Africa)

San Bushmen Influence (Southern Africa)
San Bushmen Influence (Southern Africa) [Science]

The San Bushmen’s ancient traditions and desert survival skills left their mark on Wakanda’s culture, adding a layer of mystique to the movie.

Akan Symbols and Artistry (Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire)

Akan Symbols and Artistry (Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire)
Akan Symbols and Artistry (Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire) [ThoughtCo]

The intricate Akan symbols and artistry featured in the film paid tribute to the Akan people of Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire, celebrating their rich cultural heritage.

Hausa-Fulani Architecture (West Africa)

Hausa-Fulani Architecture (West Africa)
Hausa-Fulani Architecture (West Africa) [Bayt Al Fann]

The architectural marvels of Wakanda bore elements of Hausa-Fulani influences from West Africa, underscoring the film’s commitment to portraying diverse African cultures.

‘Black Panther’ not only thrilled audiences with its superhero narrative but also served as a visual love letter to the diverse and vibrant cultures of Africa. Through meticulous attention to detail, the film highlighted the beauty of these 15 African tribes and cultures, showcasing their unique contributions to the fictional nation of Wakanda.

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