Ntom’benhle Dolls is the concept and creation of Molemo Kgomo. She brought the range of African dolls into the market in 2005 after identifying a lack of pretty black dolls which girls could relate to. Only to find that in creating a doll inspired by her daughter she would be answering the call of millions of other moms who wanted their children to have dolls that represented them as well.
In Zulu, Ntomb’entle means beautiful girl and the dolls are beautiful girls as their name states. They have beautiful brown skin, brown eyes, short hair and curves just like a typical South African little black girl. In addition they celebrate the heritage of each of the South African cultures as they are dressed in apparel representing the following 8 South African cultural groups: Zulu, Sotho, Pedi, Swazi, Ndebele, Venda, Tsonga and Xhosa. The fabrics used to clothe dolls are sourced locally and the bead work is done by local women.
“They help our kids understand their culture and build their self-esteem,” Kgomo told Drum magazine.
The dolls have become so popular the line now includes other African communities. Molemo told Move!Mag that she wants parents to teach their kids to love and appreciate themselves: “Talk to them about their self-esteem and build up their confidence. Talk to them about their own beauty and stop competing or comparing them to other kids. Let’s change the way we also think about beauty as adults.”
Soon the dolls will be even more inclusive with plans for dolls representing the Indian culture and dolls for boys.
“The inspiration behind including a range for boys is that dads’ have also been asking if boys will be included at some point. There seems to be a lot of demand so I am working on producing something that boys will enjoy too,” Kgomo told Move!Mag.
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