Yesterday SAFM held a discussion around the issue of African dolls in the marketplace, and how toymakers have been very slow on the uptake when it came to targeting young African girls (and boys). It seems that it was only when local businesswomen started producing their own African-themed dolls that the big brands were finally prepared to take the risk of marketing to a different demographic.
Last year we wrote about Baby Thando, a doll with a built-in voice box that enables her to talk in the vernacular, and we’re pleased today to introduce another black African doll, Momppy Mpoppy! While Thando was a modern day equivalent of a black Baby Angel, Momppy Mpoppy can be compared to a doll along the lines of Barbie, with some serious fashion sense, and a serious afro to match! Momppy is also kitted out in some great African-themed outfits, which any young girl would be proud to be seen in!
It may seem superficial, but in fact the toys that our children interact with play a major role in their psycho-social development. This rather heartbreaking video shows the importance of young African children having positive black role models, even in the seemingly insignificant form of a something like a black Barbie. The video may be American, but the message is definitely very significant in the context of South Africa.
Photograph courtesy of www.sowetanlive.co.za