My Xhosa Ragdoll


I’ve  been told that the very first doll I ever had was a brown ragdoll. Apparently my father had refused for me to have a “white” doll and insisted that I be bought a doll that “looked just like me” .

He strongly believed this would ensure I never have any inferiority complex about who I was. My very first doll was a ragdoll bought while he was on a trip in Port Elizabeth.

I seldom think about Mxolisi, yet for some odd reason, being in PE this week made me think of him and I imagine him stopping his car near a market and buying the ragdoll for me. Perhaps this imagination, is my way of holding on to very few positive thoughts of the stranger I never knew.

Although I had many other dolls afterwards, thanks to my more relaxed mom, I often wonder how much of that ragdoll influenced my perception of beauty. I don’t and never have looked anything like a rag doll, as you can imagine. I do though, have a strong appreciation for dark healthy skin, I think it’s gorgeous. But I genuinely appreciate healthy porcelain skin too. When someone is beautiful to me, it really doesn’t matter what colour skin she/he has.

I don’t  relate to  girls who grew up feeling “unpretty” because they were dark skinned. Yes I had my own insecurities, but they were never attributed to my complexion. If anything, in my adolescent years I always felt too skinny, my arms were too long and my eyes and ears were too small. It was rather funny to me in later years when suddenly everyone seemed to want to know my secret for staying thin and looking young, while eating as much as I do. I learned about the fickle nature of the world’s definition of beauty and I soon became stubborn about appreciating my own unique looks instead of waiting for the world to give me their own unqualified opinion.

Although I cannot say for sure if my  ragdoll had influenced my appreciation of perfectly healthy skin, there has been many writings and articles on the theory of children and dolls that look like them and why it matters . I do believe in a balanced approach though. The rise to fame of the oscar winning actress, Lupita Nyong’o is a great reminder of how gorgeous African women really are. But I also think it’s important to be objective about these things. Ms Nyong’o’s is not just beautiful because she’s dark skinned. She has a healthy skin ( dark or not), a pretty smile, a strong bone structure and a lovely healthy body. The dark skin is just the cherry on top, it gives her that natural luster.


There are many of these beautiful people in Africa. If you’ve ever believed the rumour about lions roaming in the  streets of Africa,  come to my hood, and you’ll discover that by lions, they mean rather really powerful and gorgeous, chocolate, caramel, milk skinned royal beauties, with perfectly manicured manes, cappuccino in one hand and stylish hand bag in the other, “strutting their stuff” daily,  in the concrete jungle of Sandton, roaring with confidence and ready to take on the world.

You best believe it! 😉







Photo Credits


Lupita Nyongo’s:


2 thoughts on “My Xhosa Ragdoll

  1. I really enjoyed this post. It got me thinking.. My thoughts are that the “light-skinned is best” culture is still unfortunately entrenched in our society. I am fortunate that I had a liberal minded mother who ensured that our perception of beauty had nothing to do with skin colour. My grandmother on the other hand preferred light skin to dark skin. When I had my daughter recently my grandmother was happy that she was light, she even recently asked if she is still light. So I think the ragdoll (which my mother also bought my daugher from Madagascar) is a reminder that black is beautiful. Yes, we should learn to appreciate all kinds of beauty because white is also beautiful and any colour in between, but our children or even members of our race should remember that its not only the white dolls that are pretty, the black dolls rock too. -Just my opinion-
    Thanks for the thought provoking articles.

    1. Blessings Nthabiseng!
      Congratulations on your baby girl. What a blessing that you have the privilege to observe the different generations and their school of thought. Something tells me I’d love to sit with both your gran and your mom just to listen to the stories that have influenced their thought paradigm and it’s rather fascinating that by the time we were born, our parents were fighting against the ideas of a inferior perception of beauty.

      Thank you for taking the time to comment on Regalchild, it’s always encouraging. 🙂
      Enjoy the journey of motherhood! And may she grow to be a kind, bold, intelligent and beautiful soul!

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