The South African Beadwork Can Be The Unique Way Of Saying Something

South Africa is characterized by various traditions and cultures and an example of it is visible in the South African beadwork of the Zulu tribe. The South African culture is also experienced in the prehistoric cave paintings, beautiful dress, singing, dancing and other activities of the native people.

The beads in the South African beadwork

The decorative bead is a small object that can be pierced for the purpose of stringing or threading. There are also plastic beads, which do not require piercing; these can be moulded onto a thread at the time of manufacturing. South African beadwork makes use of beads that range from below a millimeter to over a centimeter and sometimes even can be several centimeters in diameter. Beads are made from a host of materials, like stone, glass and plastic. They can also be made from materials like horn, bone, metal, shell, ivory, gemstones, coral, pearl, metal clay, polymer clay, wood, resin, fiber, seeds, ceramic, paper and synthetic minerals.

The Zulu tribe

The South African Zulu tribe is a very strong tribe, which has its traditions in existence till today. The tribe was famous for its pretty and colorful South African beadwork. The interesting fact is that every colored bead has a different meaning to convey; when, a South African woman wears or uses some colored beads in her work, she conveys a story in her own way.

The South African beadwork is a popular art form in Africa because of its vivid color and design. When it comes to decoration, the beads work wonders in Africa, since the ancient times. South African beadwork also signals group identity and also denotes the social ranking, age, spiritual state and marital status of the person who is wearing the beads. The beads have significant meanings that are kind of a symbolic system, which conveys a language.

The significance of the colored beads

A teenaged girl from the Zulu tribe will know the meaning of the different beads. For instance, a blue bead will indicate loneliness and says, “I will wait for you”. A white bead means purity and says "My heart is clear and pure and I am waiting for you". A red bead signifies love and seems to utter "My heart is bleeding for you”. A green bead indicates grass and says "I will wait until I am as thin as a blade of grass”; a pink bead implies poverty and is used for saying "You are wasting your money and have no cows to pay for my lobola (bride-price) and I don't love you”. Finally, the yellow bead means jealousy and it says, "I am jealous but I shall still love you”.

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