The name Mwangi (pronounced MWAN-gi) is given to a group of related but ultimately different ethnicities which inhabit the west coast of Garund from the godless state of Thuvia in the north down through the Mwangi Expanse, which bears their name, all the way to the southern reaches of the continent.
The appearance of the Mwangi people mainly depends on which subgroup they belong to. The four main ones are Zenj, Bonuwat, Mauxi and Bekyar. There are certain generalities that are true of all the varied Mwangi. Their skin is always dark, varying from dusky through grey to coal black skin tones. Their hair is always black though it is worn in a variety of styles. There is no one Mwangi style of clothing as it varies with the tribes and their location.
Though their history varies from tribe to tribe, the Mwangi people share one aspect of their history so old that almost none can remember its actual nature. The Mwangi are descendants of what must have once been a vast empire. Huge ruins of ancient fortresses and temples still dot the forested interior of the Mwangi Expanse. Little is known of whatever this ancient kingdom was and the modern Mwangi do not like to approach these ancient ruins as they feel some strange pull from them. The Bekyar people in particular are know for their fear of these ancient sites. The oldest of these ruins is the city of Mzali where a mummified king of this ancient civilisation has returned to life and now wants to reclaim the lost empire's former glory.
There is not one one united Mwangi culture but rather many. Each sub-culture has its own set of beliefs and traditions. If one thing could be said to unite the various Mwangi cultures it is their preference for inter-linked tribal structures. However, even this is not universal as this practice is not seen as much in the Mauxi people of Thuvia. The four main subgroups are described below.
In addition, opinion is divided as to whether the Caldaru and Lergeni of the Mwangi Expanse are related to one of the other sub-groups, separate sub-groups in their own right or not actually part of the Mwangi peoples at all.
The Zenj are believed to be the most common of the Mwangi, living in hundreds of small tribes in the jungles and savannahs of the Mwangi Expanse. Some of the tribes live in villages alongside the region's many rivers, whilst others are nomadic herders who graze their cattle or goats in the Expanse's grasslands and hills. The jungle tribes tend to be patriarchal, whilst the savannah tribes are matriarchal. The two types are on friendly terms, but tend not to intermarry. They tend to follow an ancient tradition of totemism. Zenj are below average height, with slender, muscular frames and wiry black hair. Their simple clothing is made from animal hides or plant fibers.
The Bonuwat are seafarers, and as such are often the group most encountered by the outside world. The Mwangi found in ports such as Bloodcove or the Shackles tend to be Bonuwat. They are excellent fishermen and sailors. They worship a janiform of Gozreh and Desna which they call Shimye-Magalla. Bonuwat are of average height, with wide mouths and swarthy or dusky skin. Their hair is often straight and they favour colourful, exotic clothing such as vests and baggy pantaloons.
The Mauxi are native to Thuvia and speak Osiriani as well as Polyglot. The ruling caste of Thuvia includes some Mauxi. They are withdrawn and taciturn. Most deny any connection to the other Mwangi, but some of the younger ones do hearken back to their tribal ancestry and copy the dress of other Mwangi groups. Mauxi are tall, with straight hair and ashen skin.
Least known of the four major subgroups, the Bekyar live in southern Garund, from Desolation Cape to Sargava are prominent slave takers and traders. . Bekyar are extremely tall—many of them reaching seven feet in height. Their skin varies in color from dark brown to black and they wear their wiry hair long, often in elaborate coifs.
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