YORUBA GIRLS/WOMEN WEAR WAIST BEADS AND THIS IS WHAT IT CULTURALLY MEANS!-FROM GUARDIAN NEWSPAPERS,NIGERIA

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MODERN USE OF YORUBA WAIST BEADS

MODERN USE OF YORUBA WAIST BEADS

c_95-7FROM ngrguardiannews.com

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Waist bead among the Yoruba
By Alloysius Nduka Duru

THE usage of beads especially waist bead in Nigeria is wide spread across the various nationalities that make up the nation. There are similarities and peculiarities in their usage.
However, the Yorubas developed the most varying and peculiar uses for the waist beads. The Yorubas have developed a culture of bead usage that cuts across both material and spiritual aspects of the life of the people. In addition, they have also the capacity to produce the beads for varying purposes ranging from royalty, body adornment, deification and decoration.

The Yorubas are found in the South Western geo-political delineation of present day Nigeria. They are a vibrant and social people that accentuate their ways of life in their day-to-day activities.

Beads are usually small round piece of glass, wood, metal or nut, pierced for stringing. They are either used for adornment such as the waist, neck or ankle beads or as decorative ornament in art works or even for royalty purposes.

The art of beading is serial in process and serrated in composition. It has a step by step or one by one approach in stringing when traded together, beads stands for unity, togetherness and solidarity.

Beads of the waist is said to posses the power to attract and evoke deep emotional responses, they are a sign of success and affluence as well as spiritual well being.

The Origin of the Nigerian beads is still speculative due to its fragility portability and popularity.

Beads have been traded and used since time immemorial. However, the earliest known African beads is traced to Libya and Sudan. In Nigeria the Nok terracottes and Igbo Ukwu arts display some element of the usage of beads in those societies as early as 500BC, however there is no concrete statement of origin to the beads.

A common usage of the item is for adornment especially on the waist. There is however varying purpose for which people adorn the waist beads.

The common users of the waist beads are mostly the women folk, only in exceptional theatrical perform as will a man adorn a waist bead to symbolize feminism. The waist bead is synonymous with feminism.

The Yorubas have esteemed usage attached to the waist beads. They refer to the waist bead as Ileke, “Lagidigba” the term lagidigba means something big, thick or massive. The Lagidigba is made of palm nut shells string together, while the bebe is made of glass.

The Yorubas have a belief that the waist beads posses some erotic appeal, they have the power to provoke desire or deep emotional response on the opposite sex.

Waist beads in Yoruba are also used for birth control, the beads are laced with charms and worn by the women to prevent conception.

Beads are a precious ornaments to the Yorubas, hence when adorned by a women, accentuates her feminism or beauty. Beads also helps to portray the chastity of a maiden or women sensuality. Parent show their love for their girl child through gifts of waist beads that are colourful and expensive.

The lagidigba or palm nut shell beads is used for fecundity purposes. The nuts signify multiple births as they are in clusters, thus one can infer the high incidence of multiple births in Yoruba land to the usage of the lagidigba bead.

Brides seduce their spouses with the beads they adorn, some women are said to lace their beads with charm to make them irresistible to the male folks. The Yoruba’s can easily comment on a women’s moral standing in those days by interpretation of the movement of the waist bead adorned by a women. The way she moves her buttocks can depict her morals either seductive or reserve.

The Yorubas have a popular saying that “it is the beads that makes the buttocks to shake”.

Other users of the waist beads in Yoruba land are the Orisas or devotes of water deities and other priestesses, they adorn the waist beads for protection against spiritual attacks as well as part of their dress regalia.

The waist bead is also used to adorn the Ere-Ibeji figurine on the death of a twin, there is the belief that when treated well the spirit of the spirit of the dead twin will not harm the living twin and will return to the family to stay.

Waist beads are also adorned and laced with charms to ward away the Abiku spirit (mermaid Spirit) from a woman.

Because of the regard on the waist beads, some erotic songs have been composed and sang by the Yorubas based on its usages.

A Song Says

“She goes up

She goes down

Like buttocks beads.

Another song says;

Don’t flirt with me

Don’t flirt with me as you do with your husband.

Don’t wriggle your waist beads at me

Don’t lock the door on me and throw

Away the key.

Apart from the Yorubas, other groups in Nigeria also have similar usages of the waist beads in their culture the Ogonis in Rivers State refer to beads as Loo, its uses range from covering the private parts of a women to adornment as a sign of affluence. The beads is a measure of value to the Ogonis and are also worn by bride as part of her bridal rites. The Igbos called it Mgbaji, also for adornment and a sign of social status.

The Hausas refer to it as Jigida. To the Kalabaris, the waist bead has the potency of transforming an ugly woman into a beautiful maiden once it is worn. The Ibibios see it as Nkwa-Isin, they adorn it on a female baby to help give her a good waist line, as she grows, beads of her size are adorned on her.

Priestesses of deities also wear the beads that are always colourful as part of their regalia. They also use the waist beads laced with charm s for birth control. The maiden dances (Aban) also wear the beads doing dance to give a graceful hip movement when they dance.

Waist bead in today’s fashion is relegated, ladies have a preference for western costumes such as belts, chains, g-strings to the waist beads. The culture of waist bead is going down rapidly to extinction. Religion and other spiritual reasons have been adduced for the neglect, however it must be pointed out that waist bead usage as practiced in the past is an essential element of African body adornment that is harmless and meaningful a pride and precious item which should be encourage to day.

Nduka Duru discussed this topic with National Museum Study Group, Port Harcourt recently

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FROM wazobaa.info

GIRLS GO NAKED TO SHOWCASE BEADS
She is a pretty young girl with a slim graceful figure. Her elegant movement attracted the attention of passersby as she jiggled across to the other side of the road. Her waist beads were well revealed between her skimpy top and skirt. Mindful of the attention she had generated in the ever-busy Ketu Bus-Stop, Lagos State, Nigeria, she quickly climbed a commercial bike popularly called okada, trying in the process to pull her top and miniskirt together as they went further apart between the beads. A male petty trader beside her shouted, “Wetin you dey hide? Why you no go naked make we see your ‘thing’ well well?” Vividly embarrassed she tapped the bike rider and said, “Please get me out of this place.”

The above ‘drama’ and similar ones are common scenes today in Nigerian cities as well as towns particularly where higher institutions are located, particularly in southern parts of the country. This re-emergence of beads has added a new dimension into the craze for Western oriented fashion among our ladies particularly young ones. This trend is more pronounced among female students, particularly those in higher institutions. In addition to waist adornment, ladies also use beads as necklace, for hair tie, and handbag decoration. Some also wear beads on their wrists as hand bangles, as well as using them as earrings. The popularity of beads today is enhanced by the cost of acquiring them. A survey conducted by this reporter shows that beads averagely cost between one hundred and fifty naira to two thousand naira, depending on the quality, size, length and quality of string used in making them.

Madam Grace Benson, the proprietor of a fashion shop with inscription “MAMA ONOME BEAUTY PALACE” at Balogun Stret, Lagos Island, Lagos, was busy attending to her clients when this reporter visited her shop. When she was asked how ladies patronize her beads she simply said, “Fine, as you can see beads are in vogue now, so we are selling well well.” When asked to comment on why young ladies go for beads, she said, “Beads make ladies look fine, beads bring out the natural beauty in women. It is good, not just because of beauty, but a way of introducing our culture into the modern fashion.” On the moral implications of the manner in which some ladies expose the sensitive parts of their bodies to show-off beads, she refused to comment, saying, “I am busy, you can see my customers are waiting for me, I have to attend to them.”

However, 62-year-old community leader and retired civil servant, Mr. Idowu Bakare, described the trend as unfortunate, “This shows the level of moral decadence in our society. I can’t imagine seeing these small girls going about almost naked in the name of displaying beads worn around exclusive areas of their bodies. I blame the parents because I can tolerate such in my house,” he said. “It is a curse for any one to link our culture to this madness. Various cultures in Nigeria used beads to dignify womanhood. No time did our culture led women naked in the name of displaying beads,” he added.

“When I put on beads I look more beautiful”, a student of Lagos State University, Funke Ekerin, said. When asked the fun she drives from the beads on her waist she simply replied, “It is in vogue now, ladies fancy waist beads much, and even men who want to be truthful will tell you that they admire ladies with beads on their waists.”

A teenage girl who simply identified herself as Cynthia, said, “A correct Chic cannot wear beads without wearing it on her waist; that is the one that makes us more beautiful.” On the moral implications, she said, “Well, if any man feels that it is seductive he should remove his eyes from it; after all, it is my body, nobody will tell me what I should do with it.”

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43 Responses to “YORUBA GIRLS/WOMEN WEAR WAIST BEADS AND THIS IS WHAT IT CULTURALLY MEANS!-FROM GUARDIAN NEWSPAPERS,NIGERIA”

  1. Topics about Top-trends » YORUBA GIRLS/WOMEN WEAR WAIST BEADS AND THIS IS WHAT IT CULTURALLY MEANS!-FROM GUARDIAN NEWSPAPERS,NIGERIA Says:

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  2. Topics about Top-trends » Comment on YORUBA GIRLS/WOMEN WEAR WAIST BEADS AND THIS IS WHAT IT … Says:

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  3. ADENIRAN TOMILOLA Says:

    AS A YORUBA LADY A LOVE BEAD, SO I DON’T KNOW IF IT WILL MEET YOUR APPROVAL. I WISH TO BE RECEIVING
    DIFFERENT DESIGNS OF READY MADE BEADS(IMAGE OR PICTURES)THROUGH MAIL. THANK IN ANTICIPATION OF A FAVOURABLE RESPONSE.

  4. suzanne Says:

    Simply Beautiful.

  5. Sugabelly Says:

    Erm… but ALL of SOUTHERN NIGERIA wears waist beads. Igbo, Yoruba, Ijaw, Efik, Edo, and so on. I don’t understand why this article is making it seem as if this is something unique to Yoruba people. Also, ALL of SOUTHERN NIGERIA has special meanings assigned to waist beads and proverbs, sayings, idioms, practices, etc that have to do with waist beads. Hell, I’m wearing mine right now and I’m Igbo.

  6. Kim Sutherland Says:

    Like this site – will visit again soon!

  7. dips Says:

    interesring….

  8. Chantelle Says:

    Is it appropriate for women of other cultures to wear waist beads?

  9. Sugabelly Says:

    Erm last time I checked that was called Cultural Appropriation and it’s a BAD THING.

  10. Yeye Akilimali Funua Olade Says:

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  11. Yeye Akilimali Funua Olade Says:

    Sugabelly,cultural appropiation is not bad-only if you refuse to acknowledge where you got the good culture from. It’s the bad culture people should not imitate!

  12. cirys Says:

    i love it, and im a dominican descent, one of my students parents asked me if i wanted beads, i replied yes cause i just wanted a souvenir from africa.when i saw them,i fell in love with them. where can i find them, and the body beads too cause i went on line an saw it. wow. i showed my sister the beads and now she is interested in them,

  13. AngaZa Says:

    seeking waist bead fitting and purchase. I reside in california (the Antelope Valley) . please give me a call so i may know where to purchase. 661 200-4007

  14. AngaZa Says:

    I would like to purchase waist beads. is there a place near the (antelope valley) in California? please call me..anyone having info @ 661 200-4007

    • peter Says:

      contact me @ Beadlovers@aol We have a wonderful supply, one of the best selections/collections of African trade beads in the world. 7609425222

  15. Boo Says:

    Someone please tell me why it is not offensive for Black women to be naked partly or fully but not White women?
    Brown women naked is about halfway in between, like Polynesian women naked above the hips.

  16. Ekundayo Says:

    People need to remember we are all brothers and sisters in this world and stop making a very nice article about beads into a black versus white issue. I am a “white” person but have very deep ties to Yoruba land and yes, have actually lived there for years and worn waist beads, not as a “fashion” statement, but more in line with other parts of the article. It gets so tedious to see the evidence of reverse racism in the diaspora when so many people in the world (and especially Nigeria) are just trying to move forward and make the world a better place for everyone. We must open our minds to see the unity and oneness we need to strive for in order to create a better world for ourselves and our children.

  17. Lisa Adams Says:

    How can I purchase some waist beads to wear? I cannot find any on ebay or other sites. Live in Chicago.

  18. Aug Says:

    Lisa, i can hook u up wth sum…www.facebook.com/aughef

  19. paingarire Says:

    the other people who use such beads are the malawan woman…gues..the beads on the waist are used during sexual intercourse,… the beads are used as gears, or shafts..the male holds the beads and tunes it so the woman turns or move according to the rthym the man wants…..ask me if you wnat to know more on the malawians culture called chinamwari(sex course)

  20. mariam Says:

    @Paingarire please educate me more on chinamwari you’ll get me on mariabendera@yahoo.com

  21. Denise Elliott Says:

    I’m looking to find a chart or something that would give me the meaning of each color. For instance, The gold color I understand is significant for the essence of the female and joy….etc.

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  25. Wonder Simukai Says:

    Waistbeads are one of the most sexual arousing ornaments ever found on a woman. I wish I could find a female partner who could spoil me with this kind of possession on her waist. Most people think these beads are unwholy because of their aukward use by some sectors of cultural groups. Myself I just like them without any impurities excercised on them. Please come on ladies, you just sexier when the beads are around your waists.

  26. Wonder Simukai Says:

    Any woman below the age of 40yrs who wants to drive me crazy because she weras waistbeads please arrange with me through Email wsimukai@gmail.com. Remember I am a zimbabwean and am in Harare, Zimbabwe.

  27. MULAMBWA Says:

    it makes me feel so aurkward to here that many people in the world actualy like these beads because i feel that a man should love me naturaly the way God created me not add up spices lets be natural and not use things that may bring evil thoughts in our minds

  28. rehea barnes (@rehea_keire) Says:

    i like it my co worker gave me some when she came back from senegal

  29. valerieximines@yahoo.com Says:

    such an eligant and sexy secret

  30. Chineka Says:

    Um cultural appropriation IS bad! If a white person wears these beads, they’ll get praised for it and called “culturally conscious”, but if I wear it here in Texas I’ll be told I should stop wearing it and dress “American” because I’m “not Nigerian” anymore, I’m just “American” and people will give me odd looks and call me strange. Also to that white lady please shut up. Reverse racism doesn’t exist. There is no such thing as a white African. Your people murdered your way into the continent. You are not African, it is not your culture if your people had to rape and kill in order to have access to it.

  31. Misschievous Sagacious Says:

    I’m looking 4 a black african girl with beads.The interested can get me at”Auffie@nokiamail.com”{Misschievous Sagacious}”

  32. Date Africa Says:

    Come to Kenya and those beads are a show of sexual prowess. Especially among Swahili women who know how to treat men like Kings in bed. Wolololo!

  33. http://168.131.89.105/ Says:

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  35. Nwoke marvis Says:

    This page has made me to undastand the importance of bead

  36. Emmanuel A Says:

    Indeed beads on a lady’s waist are sexy.

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