A MOTHER who had a “lightbulb moment” when realising there were no black dolls has decided to take matters into her own hands.
Rejoice Kwaramba, of Limes Avenue, Chigwell, was out shopping for her daughter when she realised there were no dolls that represented her.
The 33-year-old has now launched her own company, Natural Nubian Dolls, a range of black dolls, all with authentic African clothing and thick black hair.
The mother-of-two said: “When I grew up I did not have black dolls, they were all white. My mother and my sister are lighter than me, so I felt like I was ugly, but my mum always told me I was beautiful the way I was.
“I thought to myself ‘somebody needs to do something about this’, and then a voice in my head said back to me ‘but you are somebody’ and I started to wonder if I could be the person to make this happen.
“I went to retailers and saw they were not representing black girls in stores. My main aim now is to make more black dolls and promote diversity.
“We want all races to understand that everyone is beautiful and for people to accept each other. It’s a great thing.”
Rejoice moved from Zimbabwe with her family in 2002, leaving behind her work as a model.
She now lives with her husband of five years, Rufaro, 30, and her children, seven-year-old Raynon and Tamalia, two, after completing a degree in business management.
Rejoice said: “Life in Zimbabwe was great. My parents had good jobs and I attended a Roman Catholic school. I moved to be with the rest of my family and in search of better opportunities.”
Her business has been running for six months now, and they are now shipping dolls across the world.
Rejoice’s next step is to get the dolls on the shelves of big retailers, but she is sticking to her main aim of promoting diversity for now.
She said: “The response has been overwhelming, not just from black children, but children of all races. Seeing little girls, regardless of their colour and background playing with my dolls is a feeling I wish I could bottle.
“Normalising our differences is the first step in understanding and learning about diversity and starting this process at an early age is key. We do believe diversity is improving.”