Friday, June 16, 2017

M'simbi Dolls Teach Cultural Identity

Kondwani, Limpo, and Luyando are three of the five 18-inch Naturally Beautiful M'simbi Dolls.

M'simbi Dolls (MD) is a Zambia-based manufacturer of Naturally Beautiful 18-inch dolls.  Ebony-Essence of Dolls in Black (EEoDiB) had the great pleasure of interviewing the founder.    Interview results and photos of the current doll line are shared below:

EEoDiB:  What does M’simbi mean?

MD:  M'simbi means "girl" in a language called Nsenga in Zambia.

EEoDiB:  What inspired the creation of M’simbi Dolls?

Young Co-founder, Lindiwe; and her mother, Mainga, the Founder of M'simbi Dolls
MD:  M’simbi is an inspiration of my 6-year-old daughter, Lindiwe. She went through a phase were she didn’t like the way she looked and wanted long silky hair and lighter skin. It’s really a story about me wanting to desperately show my daughter that black is beautiful and that she did not have to look like her friends of a different race to feel beautiful; hence, the tagline Naturally Beautiful.  That was how M'simbi Dolls was established last year.  My husband, Wilson, and I along with a friend of ours, Dr. Cheswa Vwalika, brought to life the dream of a Zambian toy company. My daughter, Lindiwe, is a co-founder of the company.

EEoDiB:  How long has this line of dolls been available?

MD:  The dolls have been available in Zambia since November 2016. The sale of dolls was officially launched in May 2017. We currently have a range of five dolls namely Luyando, which means Love; Kondwani, which means Happiness; Towela, which means Beautiful; Mapalo, which means blessings; and Limpo, which means blessings.  We plan to expand to include smaller doll sizes. Many other products by M’simbi are also in the pipeline.

L-R, Front-Back:  Luyando, Kondwani, Towela, Mapalo, and Limpo

EEoDiB:  Please describe the dolls’ attributes:

Height:                  18 inch/ 45cm doll
Weight:                  1 kg with packaging; (each box is personalized with a doll's name).
Material:                Full body vinyl. Lays and sits down.
Hair:                      Manual implantation, can wash and dress up.
Eyes:                     Open
Skin color:             Chocolate
Safety Certificates: CE En71 F963 ISO 1824
Five Dolls:             Luyando, Kondwani, Towela, Mapalo, and Limpo 
Disclaimer:            Recommended for children 4 years and older

EEoDiB:  What sets M’simbi dolls apart from other dolls made for the target market?

M'Simbi Dolls help teach cultural identity.
MD:  M'simbi Dolls teaches against internalised colourism, which is defined as feeling inferior and not embracing one’s natural features. We teach cultural identity because we believe that no one should feel inferior because of the colour of their skin or texture of their hair. Each M'simbi doll bears an affirmation tag to encourage girls to speak positively about themselves and to realise their innate potential. In short M’simbi not only affirms black beauty but aims at teaching that beauty is in the colour of your skin and that doesn’t need to change.

EEoDiB:  Do your dolls meet child safety guidelines?

MD:  Yes. We have safety certificates: CE En71 F963 ISO 1824 and have a disclaimer that the dolls are recommended for children 4 years and older.

EEoDiB:  How can M’simbi Dolls be purchased and at what price?

MD:  M’simbi Dolls can be purchased in Zambia and its neighboring countries from a number of existing retailers who are engaged as distributors. Further, M’simbi has an online store at and is developing an Etsy shop at The dolls retail at USD 34.

EEoDiB:  Do you sell the dolls globally?  If so, how much is shipping to the US?

MD:  Yes, the dolls are sold globally through the website store.  Shipping to America is USD 29 using EMS, which takes around 7-10 days.

EEoDiB:  Do you sell the dolls wholesale?  If so, how should retailers contact you about the possibility of purchasing wholesale and selling your dolls?

MD:  M’simbi has established a simple distributor recruitment procedure. In an effort to empower a number of local small retailers and businesses, M’simbi sells a minimum of 10 dolls at a wholesale price to distributors. Interested distributors can contact M’simbi through the website, Facebook or Instagram pages [see links below]. Potential distributors from any part of the world are most welcome.

EEoDiB:  Please provide your contact information:  website, email, address, phone, etc.

MD:  Website:
Phone No.: +260 955 805 626
Office Location: Plot 22788, Leopards Hill Road, Ibex Hill Lusaka Zambia.

EEoDiB:  Please share any additional details potential customers should know about M’simbi Dolls.

A future CEO poses with a M'Simbi Doll.
MD:  M’simbi is a brand that stands to empower young children, especially girls. M’simbi, aside from establishing a clothing line (matching doll and girl), is currently working on empowering stories for children in line with its tag lines of natural beauty and the empowering vision of dreaming, believing achieving and in turn inspiring others.


For additional information about M’simbi Dolls, please use one of their contact links provided above.  To purchase one of the dolls, visit the website store.  To see one of the actual dolls, read the post devoted to Mapalo here.


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