A man who couldn’t find a black doll in the shops as a gift for his niece decided to take matters into his own hands.
In 2007, Taofick Okoya, 43, created his own doll that Nigerian girls could identify with by recreating their skin colour and style – and it is now so successful that it is outselling Barbie.
The doll, which is called Queens of Africa, comes with traditional outfits and accessories and costs around £4.50.
The dolls’ look is modelled on three of the country’s biggest tribes and aims to promote strong feminine ideals, like love, peace and endurance.
The doll is now so popular that, according to Reuters, it is selling up to 9,000 units a month – a staggering 15 per cent of the country’s toy market.
He explained that even though they live in Nigeria, there was a lot of Western influence. He said: ‘[This] might have been responsible for her wishing she was white. It made me aware that I needed to make her proud and happy being a black African girl, and not limit it to her alone as this was a common trend among the younger generation. The Queens of Africa became a platform to achieve this.’
Unfortunately, Okoya has been told that he won’t be able to sell the dolls on the shelves of mainline stories in America and will have to limit his business to specialist stores.