Operation Sankofa: ‘I want one just like me!’ is an initiative that is passionate about celebrating and promoting Black dolls; raising awareness around the need for such a resource to help develop identity and enhance self-esteem, especially for children of African Descent.
Many black parents, carers and guardians have difficulty finding dolls which they or their children could describe as looking ‘just like them’. They have discovered that there are not that many black dolls on the British market and the ones that are available are often imported from America or elsewhere. Another issue is the complaint that the black dolls on the market are often not attractive enough to draw attention for them to be purchased – some going as far as to say they find most black dolls ‘ugly’.
What began as a one off exercise to locate where to buy black dolls in 2009, has blossomed into the Operation Sankofa ‘Black Dolls Expo’, an annual event which showcases a vast range of black dolls featuring collectors, doll makers, doll manufacturers as well as other related resources such as books, artefacts, cards, posters, clothes, health and beauty products. It has attracted Black doll enthusiasts from France, Senegal, Ghana, Jamaica and USA!
The child and the brown doll – by Leeto Thale
What do we want from this doll
That every child loves to adore
What image do we picture
That would be that friendliest teacher.
Inside of this child’s imagination
Can she reach that place of loving appreciation
Looking at herself reflected, with love uncaged
Playing with a doll that does not seek, to take her place.
That which every child loves to adore
How will the doll we give her, open her doors
When every child tastes the joy of innocence
Will dark and brown, also erupt in that elegance.
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