Watch out, Barbie, there’s a new doll in town. A South African entrepreneur has come up with a range of African dolls, each celebrating a different African culture.
CCTV’s Julie Scheier got to check them out.
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South African entrepreneur invents dolls that celebrate African cultureWatch out, Barbie, there's a new doll in town. A South African entrepreneur has come up with a range of African dolls, each celebrating a different African culture. CCTV's Julie Scheier got to check them out.
There’s a special treat for South African girls this holiday season. A range of dolls called Ntom’benhle — which means beautiful girl in isiZulu.
Each doll represents a different African culture. Molemo Kgomo is the brain behind the brand.
“I started this about 18 months after my older daughter was born. It was the result of not finding a suitable black doll for her to play with. I saw a gap in the market. I looked around to see if there was any doll that I liked and I didn’t find anything,” Kgomo said.
Her frustrations weren’t just about skin color – they were also about celebrating South Africa’s diverse cultures.
“When you wear your traditional attire it just uplifts you you’ve got this pride and you are happy to embrace it, there’s sense of belonging you belong some where you belong to a certain culture a certain tradition you are an African, an African woman,”Kgomo said.
Little girls like the fact that they can identify with the dolls.
Although it hasn’t been easy, demand is growing. And thanks to Kgomo’s online store, the dolls are reaching customers in other countries.
“It’s not just Africans who are playing with them, its Caucasian it’s just a mix. Parents are buying and kids playing with them, I do have a lady in NY who’s been reselling the dolls as well and it’s really doing quite well and in the UK I have a lady as well, she also got the dolls there.”
Ntom’benhle dolls sell for 20-dollars each.
“I manufacture in China; it’s where the factory that I work with is based. The plastic doll comes from China and the dresses some are made in China and some dresses made locally,”Kgomo said.
If all goes well, Kgomo has big plans for the dolls.
“The dream for the brand in the next 2 to 3 years to be in as many stores as possible locally and to be exporting the dolls into other countries as well and making sure Ntom’benhle does grow and becomes a household brand.”
With the holiday season approaching, parents are looking for new activities and toys to occupy their children.
And Kgomo hopes her Ntom’benhle dolls will provide the perfect answer.