Traditionally beads through the ages were used not only to adorn the body, but as a measure of value in ritual and economic exchange between locals and foreigners. In traditional African rituals, a fine bead necklace or beaded piece is treasured because it is thought to impart spiritual energy.
Colours are invested with meaning – Pink denotes poverty and the use of pink beads could mean: “you are wasting your money and have no cows to pay for my lobola (bride price, traditionally settled with heads of cattle). You do not love me!” Messages are encoded on a huge range of artefacts including bags, belts, collars and headdresses.
Beading is also central to Sangoma (traditional healers) training reflecting the various phases of initiation and rites of passage.
With Society taking up a more modern way of life and moving into the cities many of these traditions have fallen away, together with the old beading techniques and culture.
“NOW the time for renewal has arrived. Monkeybiz is leading the revival of this venerable tradition by bringing to it a fresh, modern aesthetic.”