Monthly Archives: December 2012

Where are the black dolls in Africa?

“Where are the dolls with some color? We are in Africa!”

It took every ounce of self control in me not to scream this through the crowded toy department of “Hyper Checkers”, South Africa’s sort-of version of “Super Walmart”. I kept examining the faces of the other shoppers around me, hoping to find a puzzled, searching look like mine. All of the shoppers around me were NOT white, probably buying for their NOT white little girls, yet their shopping carts contained little blue-eyed blonde haired babies.  I also longed to scream:

“Black is beautiful! Why not buy your little one a doll that looks like her?”

I just don’t get it. In a land where whites are in the minority, making up only 9% of the population of South Africa, why is it such a project to find one black baby doll? I have heard that during Apartheid years in South Africa it was actually illegal to sell black dolls,  but you’d assume this law was still in effect here in 2012 at Checkers.

My mission was to get my precious African sister, a single mom, a doll for her daughter. You can read about her here. She is my God sent angel who helps me  in countless ways. This would be the first doll her 10 year old ever received.

What a mission to find a dark skinned doll, in Africa, of all places! I finally found a black doll at “Toys ‘R Us”, making me a bit proud of this American store, but, even so, in 3 rows of dolls there was only 2 black baby dolls… one was just plain ugly and came natural… aka. with no clothes. The other was a peeing baby that came with her own potty seat and would wee when you gave her water. I opted for this one but had my doubts.

The list of Christmas wishes this little girl gave me were cut out pictures from a Checkers ad. All the dolls were white  and blonde and did ballet, not one peeing princess on her list. As we drove to take her the gifts today, I had scarey doubts.

” What if a dark skinned peeing doll was not her dream come true? What if this is just my silly hang-up?”

All doubts dissipated when I saw her face. When I saw her face, I was a believer. When I saw the joy in her eyes, the delight in her smile and the gentle way her fingers touched the black wavy hair, I believed that every girl needs to look into the eyes of a beautiful princess that looks like them.


I ended up finding this African princess Barbie-like doll so I just had to get this one too! I think they look alike!

I will never forget the way she cradled this baby and her eyes danced. Her mother whispered to me:


“When you leave she will dance around the house and jump up and down… I know she will. I know her.”

This scene, only God and her mom got to view, yet it is in my imagination and is my favorite gift this year: a beautiful black African princess dancing with her dark skinned babe.


Justice CREATES – street kids create art

I had the amazing opportunity to run a portion of our new “Justice CREATES” course with a noisy and interesting bunch of children from the township “Lavender Hill” last week. Others would call them “street kids”, but that is surely not their destiny, and the whole week was designed to keep them from that place. These are the words I would use to describe this incredible experience:

heartwarming and nerve-wrecking, exciting and frustrating, creative and chaotic, hugs and grabbing, joyful creation and torn-up art, colorful printing and grey pencil lines, 3D building and chalk murals, soooo many emails, helpers that came and helpers that didn’t, diligent collage tearing and hands covered in glue, movies and teaching, gratitude and time-outs, lots of new friends made, so much potential but such a sad baggage to carry, lovely kids with lost parents, unforgettable smiles and moments of pride, posing with that piece of artwork that tells who they are: “Take a picture of me!” And gladly I did – but I can only show the photos without faces here:


(Click to see the slideshow)

Read a more factual article about this week here…

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You can read our Aug – Nov 2012 newsletter in English or German on Enjoy reading and if you like it, don’t forget to subscribe to receive future newsletters in your email: subcribe (english version) / anmelden (german version).