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Decline of Waist Bead Culture Among Ghana’s Youth

Decline of Waist Bead Culture Among Ghana's Youth

By Prince Dankwa

Waist beads were formerly a beloved custom that Ghanaian women carried down through the centuries, but in recent years, many of the nation’s young women have lost interest in them. These beaded ornaments used to be very common among young women, but now they are notably less common.

Several of the factors contributing to the falling popularity of waist beads are revealed through interviews with several ladies, bead makers, and cultural specialists. Many pointed to a move away from native African aesthetics and towards more Westernized ones.

“Fashions from abroad are all over social media, so that’s mainly what young people want to copy,” Biney stated.

Some people believe that the rich cultural significance of waist beads can make them seem constrictive.

”Waist beads have a very historic meaning that has to do with fertility and marriage.

However, I wish to express myself freely and unrestricted by those expectations,” Student Abena Nketia said.

Others find it practically problematic since waist beads show through garments.

There is a misconception that waist beads are exclusively worn by elderly women. “It seems outdated because my grandma wears them. “I want to look fashionable and current,” 20-year-old Akosua Amoako stated. Waist beads are viewed by some young people as a sign of an older age disconnected from Ghana’s modern culture.

However, not all hope is lost for the future of this tradition. Some young artisans are innovating new waist bead designs blending modern silhouettes with cultural motifs. If wearing of waist beads can be repositioned more of fashion than a strict tradition, this could help regain youth interest in sustaining this iconic art form.

Only time will tell if such efforts can revive waist bead culture among Ghana’s new generations.

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