Ndebele Dolls

These dolls are handmade by the smallest, but most colorful tribe in all of South Africa. Each style of doll represents deep Ndebele tradition, still practiced and celebrated today. Fertility dolls made by the bride’s maternal grandmother are presented when she enters her new hut after the wedding ceremony. Linga Koba dolls represent a mother whose son is being initiation into manhood by spending two winter months in a secret place in the mountains. “Linga Koba” means long tears – tears of sadness for losing a boy, and tears of joy for gaining a man. Most of these dolls are made by collectives of women who earn income to support their families while preserving and passing on their tradition to future generations.

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