By Gbenga Oloke
The usage of waist beads among young ladies and women in the modern days has skyrocketed to almost 1000x compared to the rate at which it was used in the olden days.
Traditionally, Waist beads among African women serve as a symbol of purity, fertility, femininity, and spiritual well-being which is known by different names such as Ileke, jigada , giri giri, and so on, depending on what it is called in your culture.
Waist beads signify different interpretations based on the cultures. Some culture believes waist beads helps to identify the transition from childhood to adulthood ( Feminity).
While some cultures believe it is a secret adornment that is worn to express inner beauty that can be seen by the wearer’s intimate partner to build deeper intimacy.
Whereas in some cultures especially yoruba (in the olden days) it is forbidden for women to show the opposite sex their waist beads until they are married.
Contrary to the modern-day lifestyle, Waist beads (ileke) which are seen as a secret adornment of women are seen as an object of open attraction used by women to express their beauty to opposite sex
Although there are several misconceptions about the usage of beads. Some said that it was a means to seduce men while some claim that it is used for spiritual protection among many other claims.
In a bid to seek the reason for the rapid usage of beads in modern times, I interviewed 3 ladies from different tribes (Yoruba, Igbo, and Hausa).
Adelaja, A Yoruba lady, (26yrs)explains that she uses a waist bead to check her weight size.
She explained that she doesn’t consider it should be kept secret as it is part of her adornment as a lady for beauty.
Ugochi, an Igbo lady (25yrs), said that it makes her attractive and eye-catching.
On a contrary, Hamzat a Hausa lady(22yrs) said it is a tradition and part of their dressing in her culture .
She stressed how the use of waist beads makes her feel attractive and appealing to herself which she noted in her words ‘ It boost my self confidence as a female’
The opinion of these young ladies seems quite similar as they believe the usage makes them more attractive and unique.
It was however recorded that a larger percentage of ladies from age 18-35 years use waist beads.
Therefore , it is expedient for everyone to know that the old fashion is here to stay and we should embrace its beauty and sight on ladies and women
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