Tribal Symbolism of African Beads

Africa, like most continents has a fascinating history associated with religion and faith. Due to the sheer diversity of cultures, indigenous tribes and ethnic backgrounds – there is still a large proportion of rural communities and tribe-dominated provinces that adhere to the beliefs of animism, holistic healing and even magic.


Like many religions adornments, jewelry and clothing play a strong role within many of the roles, rituals and rites associated with indigenous beliefs. In many African tribes, the “circle of life” starts with birth, and ends in death – marked in between by a number of important milestones, such as puberty, marriage, child-bearing and the menopause.

Krobo Fancy Powderglass Beads and Recycled Glass These beads are extremely symbolic to Ghanaian tribes. Colorful beads known as Bodum beads were for centuries passed down within families, alleged to possess the whispered incantations, prayers and healing properties of wise elders. These beads became particularly favored for their medicinal and healing powers. Krobo Beads found increased use in place of Bodum beads, primarily because of the many colors they came in. Each color variant was though to house a specific healing property, and was used for a specific ailment. In a similar fashion to the Egyptians, certain Ghanaian tribes send multicolored strands of Old African Trade Beads to accompany the dead to the after-life. It is thought they will then be able to pay any debt of sin with these beads.