As we wrap up Women’s Month in South Africa, we’re shining the spotlight on Caroline Hlahla and Khulile Vilakazi-Ofosu’s. These two ladies have proven to be the best in their field of work and strong influencers in the toys field.
Hlahla and Vilakazi-Ofosu are the team behind Sibahle Collection, a Johannesburg-based toy company founded with the aim of creating dolls with which African children could truly identify with.
The African dolls have natural hair and have an important message behind them, that there’s beauty in diversity. “Representation of children is very important. It informs their outlook on life and their self-esteem,” said Vilakazi-Ofosu.
The Sibahle Collection also includes dolls designed to reflect the realities of the Rainbow Nation. For instance, there’s “Ndanaka”, who has vitiligo, a condition where the loss of pigment causes discoloured patches on the skin, and “Zuri”, who has albinism.
Sbahle dolls have caught the attention of parents in SA, other African countries, Europe and the US. They’ve also been the muse for other merchandise created by Hlahla and Vilakazi-Ofosu, including school bags, party accessories and books. ‘Sibahle’ means beauty in a different language.
The entrepreneurs are helping to promote self-love and challenge outdated beauty stereotypes, one diverse doll at a time. “These dolls teach children to appreciate the beauty in all its forms and grow up feeling like they are enough, they don’t have to look a certain way to stand up proudly and feel beautiful,” said Hlahla.