There’s a new doll in town. She’s a queen, she’s black and she wears traditional Nigerian costumes. The dolls’ attires are modelled after three of the Nigeria’s biggest tribes (Ibo, Yoruba and Hausa) and aims to promote strong feminine ideals, the African culture and pride in oneself, irrespective of the skin colour.
The dolls are now so popular that, according to Reuters, 9,000 units are being sold monthly – 15% of the country’s toy market. The dolls, which sell for equivalent to £4.50, resemble Barbie dolls in size but their African outfits and darker skin makes them stand apart.
The Queens of Africa dolls were created by 43-year-old Taofick Okoya, a Nigerian man, seven years ago after he couldn’t find a black doll for his niece.
The success of the Queens of Africa is another example of the emergence of a middle class in Nigeria, which along with Mexico, Indonesia and Turkey is thought to be one of the world’s awakening economic giants.
Thanks to the doll’s online presence, they are being sold and marketed widely in America, Brazil and Europe.
Year 2014: Taofik talks about his initiative and plans for expansion