Expedition Discovery Kei


  • Posted by: Expedition Discovery

By Dr. Margaret Kagwe

The African culture has a special place for art. And ornaments and beadwork are some of the favourite souvenirs from Kenya.

The beads were traditionally worn by different tribes, though today they are mainly associated with the Maasai community.

Besides aesthetic value, the beads communicate a subtle message that seeks to bring about a sense of inclusiveness, togetherness and unity of purpose.

The traditional African ornaments were multi-coloured, and predominantly included red, black, yellow, blue and white. This means that a single colour was probably deemed too limited to serve the purpose for which the ornaments were worn.

Beads were worn in bunches and on different parts of the body to communicate the desired effect. Beadwork was not just fashion, but a message.  What message can we derive from beadwork?

African ornaments are mainly hand-made: This shows optimal power of the human mind at work. Due to the pressure to maximize gains, the modern world seeks to generate volumes without considering the type of energy invested. We should perhaps slow down and begin to invest positive energy in people and things we consider important. If you would prefer hand-made to machine-made ornaments, then you should take time to create things with a piece of yourself as an investment.

African ornaments are multi-coloured: A single mind, a single way of doing things, may be behind your woes. Listening to other views, trying out other activities and hobbies, changing your environment from time to time may be what you need to refresh and revamp your life. In Africa, a lot of activities are communal, include parenting. Instead of getting overwhelmed and carrying the burden of raising children alone, it takes a whole village to raise a child. Blue may be a beautiful colour but other colours help illuminate its beauty.

Ornaments were worn in bunches and on different parts of the body: The cultural meaning given to different parts of the body was the secret behind this practice. Each tribe gave prominence to where ornaments were worn for different purposes. For instance, for Turkana women, wearing bunches of necklaces was a symbol of social status while in Ghana, multiple strands of beads around their waist was meant to shape it, keeping it small and accentuated. In life, it is important to give prominence to what you value as a person and as a family. This enables you to focus and attend to matters that mean the world to you.

In order to live your life to the fullest, it is important to remember that a single bracelet does not jingle. The upshot is that it is only when you accept help and venture into the world to find solutions to your puzzles that you truly enjoy life.

Author: Expedition Discovery

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