Finally, young African children can play with a doll that resembles them and not a white American prom queen: the Naija Princess Dolls.
The ‘Naija Princess’ and Queen of Africa dolls were created by a perceptive Nigerian uncle, Taofick Okoya, who seven years ago, realised that the dolls on offer were not suitable for his niece, and couldn’t find one in her likeness, so he designed and created the ‘Queens of Africa’ for her to play with instead.
Now, he sells between 6,000 and 9,000 dolls a month, at approximately 1,300 to 3,500 naira, or£4.50, right across Nigeria, outselling Barbie and giving him a 15 % share of the toy market. His beautiful dolls are now one of the best-selling toys in the country.
The dolls have a gorgeous natural African brown skin tone, wear changeable African outfits and headwraps and are beautiful. Each doll represents a different African tribe, Yoruba, Igbo and Hausa and are dressed accordingly. Like people of colour, his dolls have differing skin tone; some have darker and some have lighter pigmentation.
“I happen to be the kind of person that doesn’t enjoy complaining and criticizing without taking any action,” the 43-year-old businessman told ELLE.com
“It became a frontline project for me due to the resistance the dolls received because of their color and outfits from most children and distributors,” he explains. “I spent about two years campaigning on the importance and benefits of dolls in the African likeness. During that process, I realized greater social issues such as low self esteem, which led to the passion to make a change in the coming generation. It’s been a tough journey but one I have enjoyed.”
Taofick now sells his dolls online but has had such fantastic international coverage that he cannot make them fast enough and they are currently out of stock on the website. However, keep checking here and as soon as they stock up, we suggest you buy one for every child, born or unborn that you know, black or white…