“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 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.