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Entrepreneur celebrates local culture and heritage through production of authentic African dolls

Entrepreneur celebrates local culture and heritage through production of authentic African dolls

Chemical engineer by training, Christy Shakuyungwa grabbed an opportunity in the retail manufacturing sector after noticing that there was a gap in the country’s toy industry.

Shakuyungwa in a recent interview said she noticed that the country was not producing nor selling locally themed dolls, hence the idea to venture into business with her friends two years ago and the company, Taati and Friends was born.

The company comprises of four members and they produce black dolls dressed in cultural outfits and matching outfits for young girls.

The doll which is also called Taati, according to Shakuyungwa is the self-proclaimed Namibian National Doll, with a mission to promote authenticity, self confidence and culture in young girls.

Shakuyungwa believes in making things happen and does not believe people should wait for the right qualifications as one can learn along the way.

“To create something and seeing the smiles on my clients faces makes me glad I started my business,” she added.

According to her, women in business should take their place in the society because the future is female and their voices are valid.

Even though her company faces challenges like access to market and logistics which causes headaches, she plans to produce African male dolls as well as take the Taati Dolls digital.

The Taati doll which is Oshiwambo also has got five friends who keep her company, namely Lesedi, (Setswana), Ntelamo (Kaprivian), X/khomes (Damara/Nama), Mbahimuo (Oshiherero) and then Alicia who is Afro-centric.

Shakuyungwa said each doll costs N$300 and orders can be made on her facebook page Taati & Friends. The company currently also delivers the dolls in Windhoek and Swakopmund and courier to the rest of the country.

About The Author

Mandisa Rasmeni

Mandisa Rasmeni has worked as reporter at the Economist for the past five years, first on the entertainment beat but now focussing more on community, social and health reporting. She is a born writer and she believes education is the greatest equalizer. She received her degree in Journalism at the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) in June 2021. . She is the epitome of perseverance, having started as the newspaper's receptionist in 2013.