In most African cultures, women carry loads on their head. The situation is quite different among Gwari women in Nigeria. In this society, women carry loads on their shoulders, because they are of the believe that the head should be accorded a royal status as the King of the entire body, saddled with the task of thinking for the body, as a result it should not be burdened with manual or pedestrian task, such as ferrying goods from place to place. But this is not so today, as the venom of civilization has since overtaken and eclipsed it, and the traditional sight has become a rarity except for the older women who still hold on true to this belief and practice.
According to a traditional ruler, the exact part of the body atop which loads are carried is known as Bwapa in Gwari, and it was a practice among women, as Gwari men were forbidden from carrying loads as ordained by the ancient gods.
Gwari women who carry heavy loads on their shoulders averred that the loads weighted lighter on the shoulder than on the head. A woman said “Growing up, I saw my seniors carrying loads on their shoulders, so I copied them. Today, I cannot carry any load on my head because it would weigh too heavy for me. To me, all that matter is comfort.”