African traditional Waist beads: Why every lady needs it

A woman with traditional waist beads on her waist, what does that exactly mean? The overview of why some African women prefer to wear these accessories.

Waist beads are a traditional African accessory comprises of tiny glass beads on string or wire worn around the waist or hips. They come in many colours and shapes and may include decorative stones, crystals or amulets. They are also called tummy beads, abdominal beads, or belly bead chains.

Traditional waist beads
© – Traditional waist beads

The history of waist beads goes back to ancient times. It originated from Egypt (North Africa), where beautiful women wore them as a status symbol. At that time, they were called “girdles”.

In Nigeria, Senegal, Ghana and other West African countries, they are worn as a celebration of femininity, sexuality, womanhood, fruitfulness, healing, spirituality, body shaping, protection and wealth.

Traditional waist beads
African Traditional waist beads

Today, both in Africa and in other western world, women use waist beads for aesthetic and practical uses.

Waist beads have different names in some parts of African countries. For example, in Nigeria, the northern part (Hausas) called it jigida, the Yorubas (Southwestern) called it Bebedi. The eastern part (Igbo) called it mgbájị́.

Waist beads colour, stones and their meanings

Colours generally play a significant role in our lives—some people drew to bright colours, which get on other people’s nerves.

We would venture to say that African waist beads were more common a couple of generations ago, certainly much more common than they are now.


There was a somewhat innate fascination with waist beads, especially for some young women who were anxious to reach an age when they could adorn some. Although some people remained ignorant of their significance, the allure of a woman adorned with beads was almost undeniable

Meaning of some waist bead colour

  • Brown: earth and stability.
  • Red: bravery, passion and vitality.
  • Orange: self-confidence and courage.
  • Blue: Harmony and insight.
  • Yellow: happiness, joy and energy.
  • Pink: love, beauty and care.
  • Purple: wisdom, royalty and spirituality.
  • Green: fertility, hope, and abundance.
  • Black: protection and power.
  • Gold: power and wealth, and good health.

Meaning of waist bead stones

  • Hamsa: protection from evil or bad luck
  • Quartz: clarity, strengthens other crystals
  • Evil eye: protection from negativity
  • Lapis Lazuli: Peace, wisdom, truth, insight
  • Green aventurine: good fortune, prosperity,

Benefits and reasons of waist beads

In African waist beads, symbols of femininity celebrated as symbols of nobility, celebration and femininity, worn to express a woman’s self-confidence.

Weight measure – African women have been using waist beads for weight loss to shape their bodies for centuries.

Heritage and Pride – African women flaunt their heritage and ancestry, and they are not afraid to wear beads to express their respect and tribute to their culture. Beads add a glamorous touch to a woman’s body, and they often tell their daughters about the importance of wearing beads around the waist.

Sexual attraction – Most African women wear beads around their waists to show their sexual desire for their lovers. Waist beads play an essential role in increasing a man’s sexual desire, and they would find a woman with their waist laced with beaded.

Waist beads around a woman waist
©iStockPhotos – Waist beads around a woman waist

Most especially in African, women traditionally added amulets and scented oils to lure suitors or protect themselves from negative energy. Threads extremely beautiful and attractive.

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