Plastic Dolls.

So I’m a bit annoyed.  I know that this is a topic that most people originally from other third world countries would have an opinion on about a different object, but me being from Africa…this is mine.

The other day THIS popped up in my inbox.   I knew it was going to happen, I’ve seen these plastic girls pop up on various design and interior blogs and I’ve cringed every time.

The doll is made domestically in Africa. Girls play with these dolls they call by caring for them, dressing and feeding them, and sometimes tucking them into the waistbands of their skirts just as women carry infants in cloth wrappers wrapped around their waists. There are significant rituals associated with girls, including the belief that proper care for the doll can ensure fertility and survival of children.

These are sold for couple of Rands back home and the money (we hope) go to the kids in the townships.  Since I have lived in Australia I have visited Cape Town twice.  Each time I go back home I buy one of these in a different colour and hopefully plan oto go back and visit enough in my lifetime to collect all the colours.



God my dressing table needs a tidy.  Anyway. There is nothing one can do about them being bought in the masses with the first world economy dollar and then flogged at some wanky trade show to be sold on to housewives who read Home and Garden.  They’re cute and they look great and of course they would be a hit, but I just wanted you all to know the back story before you just went in and consumed without thinking.


9 Comments on Plastic Dolls.

  1. I loved this post Tammy, they’ve got these in Kenya too and they make me sad. x

  2. Great post! Its important to give the full story. Its so often lost in savvy marketing and good product placement. Xxx

  3. Thanks for sharing, I’d never have known. xx

  4. I love you for this!
    I love my clonettes but I don’t think I’d be that much into them if it wasn’t for their background and the fact that they do have a history and aren’t just cute. xxx

  5. I’m not really sure what point you are trying to make here. I think that the people who know about and buy Clonettes do so because of their story. As far as you saying there is ritual associated with them, western children play with dolls and aspire to be mummies and daddies when they are bigger too! I recently purchased 3, one each for my two small daughters and one as a gift for a friend. My hope is that some of my consumerism will trickle into the African economy.

    • My point is I grew up in South Africa where these dolls were sold by charities and given to the township kids and now I am seeing them in design and gift stores for a silly amount of money. I’m sure there are a zillion cases like this with other items from other countries but this is just what I know about. I just wanted people who didn’t know about their story to know about it.

  6. I have seen these all over the internet in photos but have never known how to purchase one… What a wonderful back story! It makes me love them more and I hope the money spent on them would still go back to a good cause. I’ve never been out of the US but I am drawn to these dolls–I feel like if I were to see them in person I would need to bring back a suitcase full.

  7. I would like to congratulate you for putting this on the web, it was my very first toy as a child and I have been trying to describe it to my children. But the images on your webpage makes them understand the picture more. I hope to buy one when we visit Africa

  8. Udit Lorraine Belkine // 2014-09-30 at 8:38 PM // Reply

    AS I am about to travel to Cape Town, I would very much like to know where can I find them
    Best regards from Israel,

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