For a long time in ancient Africa beads were a part of life. Beads served many purposes as beads were once a currency used to trade and buy weapons or gold. Beads were significant because they could tell a story about person’s origins and were sometimes used for spiritual purposes. They were different from region to region but one type that was very common amongst all African women was the waist beads.
In most parts of Africa waist beads were given to a girl when she reaches the stage of puberty as a sign of woman hood. The beads were worn just under the waist normally where the bikini line would sit. They served the purpose of modern day lingerie as they were used to entice their husbands sexually. In some parts of Africa like in Egypt waist beads would be worn with bells so that that they jingle as a woman walks.
In other parts like Senegal they would sometimes wear sweetly scented strands. For a long time I thought waist beads were just a form of African lingerie but did you know that African women also used waist beads to monitor weight gain and weight loss.
A sign of weight loss would be the beads moving way below the waist line and a sign of weight gain would be the beads moving way above the waist as the strands did not stretch. I guess women have always been sensitive to their weight gain and loss for a very long time. Who would have thought our great grandmothers used to watch their weight?
Nowadays waist beads are just a Fashion statement. Some women still use it for its original purpose but others wear it as a visible fashion statement, that is wearing them with low cut pants so that they are visible to everybody.
They can be found on sale in some fashion houses around the continent. I wonder how they would look if I wore them over a tube dress. I think I should try and it and you tell what you think.