Waist beads have become controversial ornaments in recent times due to Religious influences. Lots of people in Africa condemn the wearing of this colorful adornments as they are erroneously thought to be symbols of evil charms, promiscuity, prostitution, occult, diabolism.
However, it is worthy of note, that before the coming of colonialism which destabilized Africa’s Beautiful culture and heritage, waist beads were worn for several holistic purposes, and they signified virginity, purity, fertility, maturity, Royalty and so on and so forth.
In Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, and other African countries, waist beads are a symbol of femininity, fertility, sensuality, and spiritual well-being. Today, in both Africa and the United States, women use them for aesthetic and practical purposes and even weight tracking as lots of women check and control their weight with it.
There are several myths surrounding Waist beads, such as; Increase in Butt and Hip Size, Increased sexual appeal and fertility, attraction of opposite sex and heightened sexual libido. Some of these myths have not been confirmed to be facts.
I wear waist beads, they have always fascinated me and made me feel African and sort of free from colonial brainwashing.
My friends have also joined me in wearing beads on their waists or belly chains as they have come to be called in modern times.
I have no diabolical motives for adorning my waist in beaded glory and I think that any object at all can be used as an evil charm, it must not be the beads on a woman’s waist. Modern styles of are also gaining grounds as other forms of ornaments, e.g chains, metal, gold, silver, fancy charms are now included in the making of the adornment.
Among the Ashante and Krobo cultures in Ghana, larger beads or bells are added to a woman’s waist beads once she’s fertile so she makes noise when she walks to alert potential suitors nearby.
In other cultures, these ardonments are worn under clothing for only the wearer and her chosen partners to see, similarly to a special set of lingerie.
Special waist beads are also available for pregnant women. They’re thought to provide protection for the mother and growing baby.
Many women in the diaspora don’t have direct knowledge of their West African lineage due to the transatlantic slave trade. Reclaiming waist beads also means black women can reclaim the opportunity to walk in their ancestors’ footsteps. The beads are a constant physical reminder that heritage is never as far away as you may think, and it’s up for personal interpretation.
If you are in love with waist beads and want to adorn your waist with them, do not let malicious rumors deprive you of this beautiful African Heritage, Adorn your curves with as many as you like, I wish I could show you mine, they are made with cowries?