Zulu Beads

Zulu beads are an important aspect of Zulu culture, a South African ethnic group that has a rich and diverse history. The Zulu people are known for their intricate beadwork, which is not only visually stunning but also holds great cultural significance.

Beads have been used by the Zulu people for centuries as a form of personal adornment, as well as a means of communication and cultural expression.

zulu beads
Full Adornment

Cultural Significance

The Zulu people traditionally use beads to create jewellery, clothing, and other decorative objects. The use of beads in Zulu culture is not limited to women, as men also wear beaded items such as bracelets, necklaces, and headbands.

Zulu beadwork is characterised by its bright colours and intricate designs, which often incorporate geometric shapes and patterns.

Beads have a special significance in Zulu culture and are often used to communicate important messages or symbols.

modern classy zulu traditional dresses
In Traditional Attire

For example, certain colors and patterns of beads may indicate the wearer’s marital status, social status, or even their clan affiliation. In addition, beads are often used in Zulu traditional ceremonies and rituals, such as weddings and funerals.

Overall, Zulu beads are an important aspect of Zulu culture, representing not only a form of artistic expression but also a means of cultural communication and identity.

Types of Zulu Beads

There are many different types of Zulu beads, each with their own unique designs, colors, and meanings. Here are a few examples:


These are long, thin beads that are commonly used to create bracelets, necklaces, and belts. They are often woven together in intricate patterns to create stunning designs.

imbenge with zulu beads


This type of bead is traditionally worn by Zulu women as a symbol of their marital status. The beads are arranged in a specific pattern and worn around the neck.

Ubuchwabasi necklace
Ubuchwabasi Necklace

Below you can find a picture of a flared ubuchwabasi.

Ubuchwabasi flared
Flared Ubuchwabasi


This is a headdress worn by Zulu women during special occasions such as weddings and funerals. The headdress is made up of a series of beaded rings and strands that are woven together to create a complex and ornate design.

yellow isicholo


This is a traditional beer pot that is often decorated with intricate beadwork. The beadwork on the ukhamba is not just for decoration, but also serves a functional purpose, as it helps to insulate the pot and keep the beer cool.



This is a type of beaded apron that is worn by Zulu women during traditional ceremonies and rituals. The apron is made up of a series of small beads that are woven together in intricate patterns.


Below you’ll find examples of women wearing the isiquabetho.

zulu beaded apron
Zulu Beaded Apron

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