Waist ornament



Waist ornament




Physical description: A Tswana woman's waist ornament or "girdle". This waist ornament is made from a length of local Tswana rope with blue and coral-coloured beads strung around it to form lozenge patterns.
[Display label for 'Township Journeys' display, in the World Art Gallery, Brighton Museum 2018, as part of the 'Object Journeys' partnership project with the British Museum. Curated by Tshepo Skwambane and World Art staff]
Beaded necklace R4007/16
Xhosa/Tswana, Botswana, Southern Africa

This beadwork accessory could be worn as a necklace or a waist ornament. The distinctive lozenge design in blue and coral colours, compliments the red ochre outfit worn by Xhosa women.

The beadwork shows a design and colourway that relates to Tswana, Xhosa and Ndeble people and shows cultural exchange between neighbouring communities.


Making African Connections


Pre 1899






Collected by Reverend William Charles Willoughby, a Christian missionary, in what was then the Bechuanaland Protectorate (1885-1966). It is now the Republic of Botswana, having gained independence from Britain in 1966.
From 1889-92 Willoughby was pastor at Union Street Church, Brighton (now The Font pub). From 1893 to 1898 he worked for the London Missionary Society in Bechuanaland. He assembled this collection of objects during this period. This was a period of social and technological changes and these objects represent traditional lifestyles and skills, rather than the contemporary lives of the people Willoughby met.

Willoughby's collection was loaned to Brighton Museum in 1899 when he returned to the UK. The loan was converted into a donation in 1936, and accessioned as acquisition R4007.

Some objects were re-numbered with the WA (World Art) numbering system in the 2000s. These numbers have been reverted to the original R4007/... numbers where possible for consistency in 2019.


Botswana, Southern Africa, Africa
Cultural Group: Tswana


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