A Nigerian businessman, Taofick Okoya, created a doll which has grown so big that it now outsells the legendary Barbie dolls in Nigeria.
The creation of the doll was not something he had always set out to do. He just needed to get a gift for his little niece but could not find a single black doll in the gift shop. So Okoya decided to create one which Nigerian girls could identify with, not just because of the colour of their skin but also the style of their dressing.
The Queens of Africa doll – as he named it – comes dressed in Nigerian traditional attire and accessories.
According to a Reuters report, the doll is now selling up to 9,000 units a month, which is 15 per cent of Nigeria’s toy market. Beyond Nigeria, the doll is now being ordered from countries like the USA, Brazil and even several countries in Europe.
Okoya’s mission, according to him, is to “make the Queens of Africa a symbol of hope, trust, and confidence by promoting African history, culture, and fashion.” He hopes the positive impact of the dolls will reach his daughter as well, who he says once wished she was white.
Okoya said: “I don’t believe Mattel sees the Nigerian market as a priority, yet their product has great influence on the psyche of the children here and affirms certain values contrary to our society.”