Waist Beads, A Natural Waist Trainer? – Frances Hornsby-Odoi


The use of beads especially waist beads in Africa can be traced back to at least 12,000 years. The oldest known beads were been found in the Kalahari Desert, Sudan and Libya. The earliest beads were usually made of eggshells, clay, stones and ivory. Glass beads were later introduced by the people of Europe, India and the Middle East.  In various parts of Africa, beads were used as an adornment to define one’s tribe or status or even the group they belonged to or the works of art. Others used it as a currency.

Disclaimer: Please be advised of some explicit content, the content is just for mere demonstration as beads are being worn on the waist. 

In Ghana, the introduction of glass beads came as an opportunity for inspired works of art. Several tribes in Ghana like the Krobo, Ashanti, Ewe, and the Ga-Adangbe are among the oldest and most famous makers and users of traditional beads in the world.

In all their rites of passage, beads are used. It is their way of displaying rich cultural heritage. In the early days, beads were mostly associated with money and magic.

Today, in our modern day Ghana, beads signify love, charm, fertility, protection, fashion and also a symbol of wealth. It is also worn around the waist for beautiful curves.

Waist beads as believed by historians may have originated from Yoruba in Nigeria. But in recent times, Ghanaians seem to have fallen in love with waist beads because they believe it signifies womanhood and wealth. Waist beads are usually small and colorful pieces of glass, wood or plastic arranged in a series that serves as a decoration around the waist of a woman.

Tribes like the Ewes, Ashantis and Krobos still use waist beads to shape the waist and calves of children because they believe that as they grow with it, it presses in on their flesh and give them the desired shapes and curves, especially the girls since they will grow to be the center of attraction.

For some tribes, waist beads are worn on both girls and boys but mostly, between 12 to 36 months, they take it off the boy’s waist and calves. The girl can wear hers through to adulthood. While some tribes like the Ewes and the Krobos associate with this kind of tradition passionately, some just wear them for fashion or just for the love of having a waist bead on.

Others have very interesting reasons for wearing waist beads. Read Others here

  • For some women, waist beads empower them, by boosting their confidence as women.
  • Some use it for traditional purposes and also it symbolizes their cultural heritage.
  • Some believe waist beads are a source of medicine and so they trust that when they wear them, it heals them of every disease. Interesting right?

  • Some use waist beads as aphrodisiacs. It elevates their sexual desires and also they use it to seduce men. Wow!
  • To some, it’s just a fashion trend which will eventually fade away to make way for another.
  • And to some, it’s a natural waist trainer! It provides women with all the curves they need without hitting the gym! Amazing what a waist bead can do!

At the end of the day, men have almost the same opinion about waist beads as women. It is a natural waist trainer! I know you’ll be asking why? Your guess is as good as mine. The men love it! They can’t seem to have more of a woman with a waist bead because it gives her all the curves and shapes they love!

Personally, I’ve seen some children wear waist beads and yes, they now have beautiful and nice shapes anyway. Some also wear waist beads but are as straight as a measuring ruler!

Majority of ladies who wear waist beads are naturally endowed but I guess it’s not every woman’s ‘calling’ to wear waist beads and still be naturally endowed.

Nonetheless, beads, waist beads are certainly a representation of our proud Ghanaian culture, heritage and history which I believe is going to stay for a very long time.

Credit to
Frances Hornsby-Odoi




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