South Africa 3 Ceremonial Dolls Ndebele People

Three coneshaped dolls made by the Ndebele people. The Ndebele people mainly live in the northeast of South Africa. The doll in the middle with the long black hair represents a Sangoma. A Sangoma is a diviner; a practitioner of herbal medicine, divination and counselling. The other two dolls are ceremonial dolls that play a role in courtship and/or fertility rituals. Nowadays this type of doll is mainly made for the tourist trade.

Folklore is in the air… uhm… ear!


Object Ritual dolls
Origin South Africa
Culture Ndebele people
Medium Fabric, plastic, beads, yarn
Mark or Tag None
Made by Unknown
Size H 28, 21 & 19 cm
Dated Not dated
Acquired Fleemarket mid 2010’s & online 2022 (yellow doll)


Here’s a postcard that matches these dolls. It shows how the people living in South Africa are dressed in their traditional costume.

Text on the back of the postcard: ‘Ndebele mother and child near Pretoria. …de their gaily-painted homestead and showing the colourful and creative beadwork patterns for which this tribe is noted. Moeder en kind van die Ndebele naby Pretoria …ulle opstal in vrolike kleure geverf – u sien die kleurvolle kralewerkpatrone waarvoor hierdie stam bekend is’. Postmark 1972.

Happy collecting,