Once described as “a flower from Gugulethu”, Yolanda Yawa, has branched out from making music and fashion to making dolls.
She plans to launch her black-doll brand, Luvuthando Dolls, during a series of unconventional pop-ups and flash mobs.
“We want our youth to embrace who they are, where they come from and know that life has endless possibilities,” says Yolanda.
“Our dolls are there to change the perception that being black or having natural hair is unflattering and is not beautiful nor bold,” she says.
“Our dolls will share their stories of courage and how to turn challenges into triumphs by just believing in the
impossible during a series on YouTube episodes and short stories.”
The dolls come in different shades of black. There are also male dolls and a doll with albinism.
Yolanda distributes and promotes the dolls internationally. She was recently at the MIDEM 2018 music event in Cannes and the Afrika Festival Nijmegen, where she was also invited to perform.
Her black dolls are also finding favour in America, the UK, and in the Netherlands through her Etsy.com online store.
She was inspired to make the dolls, she says, because she knows what it’s like to be
bullied and teased for being dark-skinned.
Luvuthando is a portmanteau of her children’s names, Luvuyo and Uthando, and she says it means “feel the love”.
She says a percentage of the proceeds from the sales of the dolls will go to the Circle of Love non-profit organisation.
At the moment, the Luvuthando Dolls are made solely by Yolanda with some help from her children and brother, Ludwe Yawa, but Yolanda has plans to open a factory in the Western Cape.
Each doll has an African name and comes with, among other accessories, its own Yolanda Yawa Creations designer outfit, a mini diary with the doll bio and also indigenous South African language words with an English translation.
Visit www.luvuthandodolls.co.za to find out more about the dolls.