African waist beads may have originated among the Yoruba tribes in Africa. Most of these tribes are now located in Nigeria. Although Ghana in Westrn Africa has certainly adopted the wearing of waist beads and is well known for them. They are symbols of feminity, and of wealth to the women of Ghana.
Going back to the Yoruba tribes, they see glass beads as of the Earth and the source of life. Some of their beliefs include that wearing the beads provides birth control as well as being a protection for pregnant women. These traditions exist today.
According to Yoruban women the beads increase their power of persuasion over men. They are certainly regarded as being associated with seduction and sensuality.
The bead production capital of the world now is Ghana. In Ghana there is a lot of the modern thought about waist beads prevailing. They are a beloved fashion item that enhances the figure and curves of a woman. There are some tribeswomen from the Asante tribe that wear them because they revere the traditional ideas of chastity, femininity and consider them indicators of status.