Tonso was a combatent who participated in the annual challenge day festival Wakanda traditionally holds to decide who will serve as the next king. Having entered two years and lost both times against king T'Chaka, the second time around left him with a crippling debilitation which left Tanso unable to work his regular duties on the Border Patrol. The Vanguard who keep watch over the outer area of Wakanda's boarders for any outsider intrusion.
While the king offered him a severance pay in aknowledgement for his service to the realm. Tonso refuses the kings stipend out of pride, his son M'Demwe, would take this insult to his family more personally. Setting the groundwork for a great many mechaniations that would forever change Wakanda's destiny.