South Africa, known as the rainbow nation, is home to a wonderfully diverse population. However, many parents have faced the struggle of finding dolls and toys that represent their children in a market that is dominated by a very narrow view of beauty.
Co-owners of the Sibahle Collection, Khulile Vilakazi-Ofosu, and Caroline Hlahla, faced this struggle when searching for dolls that looked like their children – and decided to solve the problem by creating a truly unique range of dolls that could represent the many faces of African youth.
Their dolls feature a range of skin tones and types, including dolls with vitiligo and albinism. There is a variety of hair textures to choose from, and the dolls can be accessorized in outfits with African flair.
When Khulile’s daughter asked for her hair to be “flowy”, she realized that all her daughter’s dolls had long, straight, flowing hair. After searching for toy stores, she could not find dolls that had thick Afro hair to which her daughter would be able to relate. Khulile discovered that even dolls with darker skin had standard European features and were simply painted darker – with the same long, straight hair.
“We saw that there was nothing to truly represent the African child – nothing to reflect their likeness back to them and show them that they are beautiful the way they are. We realized we had always aspired to have the long, straight hair and skinny bod