In much of Africa, flywhisks are carried as prestige decoration items. They are used to emphasize gestures and speech.
They are often made of items that suggest status. Our flywhisk from Ethiopia is made of dyed horsehair. The horse is connected to military success. The lettering on the whisk is in Ethiopian flag colours (also used by rastifarians ) and is likely to be Amharic (the official language of Ethiopia).
The ceremonial flywhisk has been part of the regalia of the Christian Ethiopian church for many centuries. They were often used by a member of the clergy or the royalty.
Amongst the Kongo of Angola and the Shona of Zimbabwe, as with other peoples of sub-Saharan Africa, it is also an essential item in the healing process.