In South Africa, traditional Zulu beadwork designs relate to courtship and marriage. The combination and arrangement of colors can denote the marital status of a woman or it can be used as a system of identifying individuals who can be approached for courtship.
Like the Zulu language itself, the bead language is rich in nuance and complexity and can only really be fully comprehended by those immersed in the culture.
There are seven basic colors which can have a positive or negative connotation depending upon their arrangement. White is the exception and is always a positive symbol of purity and true love. If white is placed next to a color, the positive aspect is taken. For example, white next to blue signifies fidelity and is the conventional engagement symbol.
||Sorrow, Despair, Death
||Ill Feeling, Hostility
||Wealth, A Garden, Industry, Fertility
||Thirst, Badness, Withering Away
||Contentment, Domestic Bliss
||High Birth Rank Order, An Oath, Promise
||Physical Love, Strong Emotions
||Anger, Heartache, Impatience
||Spiritual Love, Purity, Virginity