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Skinny, white Bar­bie is out, and a new wave of black dolls and dolls with dif­fer­ent body shapes is in. It’s good enough to get me in for­ma­tion. Yes, that was my first im­pres­sion as a black girl when I first went on­line to view the hyped Mala Dolls.

Caribbean-born model Mala Bryan’s new dolls wear vi­va­cious African- and Caribbean-in­spired out­fits, and each doll has its own kind of curled hair – from Afros to kinky to wavy curls. What stands out is their skin tone: the col­lec­tion has it all, from light brown to the dark­est shade of black, and each of the four dolls – Malina, Maisha, Mala and Mhina – re­flects a dif­fer­ent life­style.

Bryan says on her blog: “I per­son­ally am a doll col­lec­tor and felt the need to cre­ate some­thing I felt was miss­ing in my col­lec­tion and also some­thing I felt other doll col­lec­tors and lovers [ both adults and chil­dren] would love to add to their col­lec­tions.”

Mala dolls are brought to life on In­sta­gram, where they go on pho­to­shoots and show­case fash­ion in­doors and out­doors.

On the other side of the spec­trum, Mat­tel has now added di­ver­sity to its Bar­bie dolls, in an at­tempt to try to up their ap­peal af­ter years of de­clin­ing sales. New Bar­bies now come in tall, curvy and pe­tite shapes. Un­for­tu­nately, the black Bar­bie still wears a weave and doesn’t rock nat­u­ral hair like a Mala doll.

But if you’re look­ing for a truly au­then­tic South African doll, shop for the lo­cal Ntomb’enhle Dolls, which #Trend­ing has fea­tured many times over the years. They come in eight dif­fer­ent sets of tra­di­tional at­tire based on South Africa’s di­verse cul­ture.

Now chil­dren have an op­por­tu­nity to own a doll they can closely re­late to and be em­pow­ered by in terms of colour, style, body shape and fash­ion sense.

Our only worry is that both the Mala and Ntomb’enhle dolls might be too pricy for the av­er­age South African child’s par­ents to af­ford. Each Mala doll costs about R324.10, and each Ntomb’enhle doll costs R260. We hope more af­ford­able op­tions will be avail­able soon.

Shop for Mala Dolls at malav­ Shop for Ntomb’enhle Dolls at The new range

of Bar­bies will be in ma­jor toy stores soon

TOO CUTE Model Mala Bryan’s new doll range is sim­ply gor­geous – they even have freck­les

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