Your cheeks are lovely with ornaments, your neck with strings of jewels
(Song of Solomon 1:10)
Currently listening to Womina by Gaisebaba...been grooving to this song all along since I downloaded it HERE
Heyy love, you’re most welcome to the blog today. I’m coming to you straight from the comfort of my couch here in Ado, Ekiti State, to bring you this post in collaboration with IlekebyMunoyedi, a traditional jewellery brand based in Lagos, Nigeria.
For the longest time, I’ve loved beads, most especially the ones worn on the waist (its aesthetic quality, the array of various splashes of colours and sizes, sitting pretty on the waist) and the ankles and I find it quite surprising that it’s a lost part of the African culture, long forgotten. I am most pissed at the fact that those ladies who decide to revamp this culture are being percieved as loose, fetish or promiscuous. So, i decided to do a bit of research on the the whole waist beads and anklet brouhaha.
Waist beads are known as ‘Ileke Idi’ in the Western and ‘Jigida’ in the Northern parts of Nigeria. They were worn regularly by the old and young. It was an essential part of African female lingerie.
Belly beads as it is referred to by some people, were worn for various reasons. They were an indication of maturity of the girl-child in Africa (Nigerians, The Krobo ethnic group of Ghana, to mention a few) as mothers gave the former to their female children during their very first menstruation as a symbol of transition into womanhood. In some cultures, certain beads were given to a young woman, signifying that she was pure and undefiled and only her husband could touch or take them off. Though, some people believed that it shouldn’t be worn outside of the matrimonial bedroom.
It also meant in some cultures, that the young women were healthy, of age and ready to get married. In fact, in some parts of Ghana, waist beads were part of the dowry a man pays for a new bride.
In addition, ‘Butiti’ as it is called somewhere in Africa, were a route of communication between a wife and her husband. The rattling of the shaking beads communicated to the husband that his wife was on her fertile period, to have a baby.
Research has it that Yoruba and Senegalese women took the game a step further by immersing their own waist beads in sweet smelling perfumes and fragrances. These waist beads add to the sex appeal of the woman as these particular ones appeal sexually to the sight , touch and smell senses of the man.
Also, wearing of waist beads were a way to measure if a woman was putting on weight or not. Once the beads began to become tighter, the woman knew she was either adding some pounds of flesh or was pregnant.
Interestingly, it was believed that these beads helped to shape well rounded hips and butts, which was why mothers wore them for their little baby girls. It seems to me that there were various beads for various ages, people and seasons.
The age-long bias and misconception about waist beads and anklets, are still funny to me as the merits of these beads far outweigh whatever promiscuity or black magic it might signify in the lives of some people. The funny thing is I have come to discover that quite a number of people, both male and female, actually have a secret love for waist beads but they’ve been swayed by the majority who have the bias towards it. Nevertheless, I believe every human is entitled to a personal opinion and I respect all opposing opinions to this post.
IlekebyMunoyedi has taken time to correct that misconception by investing in precious jewels to made beautiful wait beads, hand crafted with pure love and worth of the African culture. Their beads are made with Goldstone, Agate, Lapis Lazuli, tiger Eye, Tourmalinated Quartz, turqoise, Rose Quartz, Stripped Agate, Botswana Agate, etc.
They also make necklaces, bracelets and anklets. You can contact them by sending a message through
And tell them I sent you *wink*
Photography by me, Assisted by Nathan Boyega @theweirdgene on Instagram
Beads from IlekebyMunoyedi
They will also be a part of a series of giveaways The Tosin Olaniyi brand will be hosting, as the blog hits ONE soon. Keep your fingers crossed and your eyes open for more information. You can follow my Instagram page HERE and Twitter HERE to keep up to date with all information regarding this.
Please let me know what you think about the culture of waist beads in the comments section below. I’d really love to read your thoughts.
Till my next post,
Always reflect God’s perfection xx