Fashion designer Yolanda Y’awa, 45, who is now based in the Netherlands, is a mum of two teenage boys and says her family is fascinated by her “obsession” with her hand-made dolls. But, she says, she is simply enjoying the toys she never had as a child.
She started her own brand called Luvuthando Dolls in honour of her sons Luvuyo and Thando.
Yolanda says she wanted to create a doll that black children could be proud of. “I used to hate my skin tone as a child because I was the darkest of my siblings.
“If I had a black doll, I believe I wouldn’t have felt as inferior because all the dolls we grew up with were made out to be as what every girl wanted to look or be like.
“Barbie dolls always had the long blonde sleek hair, beautiful features and slim bodies.”
Yolanda’s range includes dolls of all shapes, with African hair, cornrows, braids, Afros and curls.
They also come with accessories like diaries to educate kids about them, a handbag and laptop while all their clothes are hand-made.
She named her dolls after her nieces, while she also made a poppie with Albinism.
Her most recent doll was inspired by the hit movie, Black Panther, where the fictitious African nation, Wakanda, is far ahead in technology than the rest of the world.
Meanwhile, Yolanda is collaborating with the Tygerberg Association for Persons with Disabilities (APD) whose members will be sewing micro garments for the dolls from next year.
To purchase her dolls, visit the Design Collective in Woodstock or www.luvuthandodolls.co.za.