A Ndebele child from the Gauteng Province of South Africa has been dressed in preparation for a family wedding. On her legs, she wears beaded hoops called Golwani. Underneath her matching waist hoops is tied an apron of beaded tassels known as Lighabi; it will be replaced by larger versions & finally discarded after her initiation into womanhood. From the postcard book AFRICAN CEREMONIES

Golwani, also known as Isingolwani or izigolwani, are colorful beaded hoops worn along the waist, legs and arms of Ndebele. Smaller variants however can also be worn by young girls.


The Golwani is said to emulate rolls of body fat along the legs which are a mark of beauty among the Ndebele and is an indicator that they are ready for marriage [1] (pg. 95).Wearing Golwani begins at the start of initiation. Girls place them along their necks, arms and legs and they are then kept in isolation where they trained to be competent matriarchs and home makers. After the initiation, Ndebele women continue to wear Golwani until they are married to a husband who has provided them with a home. [2] (pg. 195)


Golwani are produced by winding grass into a hoop. The hoop is then bound tightly using cotton with cotton and is then decorated with beads. To preserve the grass, as well as the shape and hardness of the hoops , they are boiled in sugar water and leaving them in the sun for a few days In order to preserve the grass, the shape and hardness of the hoop, it is boiled in sugar water and left in the sun for a few days. (pg.193) [3]