South Africa Doll Ndebele Maiden

Beaded doll made by the Ndebele people. The Ndebele people mainly live in the northeast of South Africa. This doll represents an unmarried maiden dressed in festive attire as worn after the completion of her initiation ceremony. To symbolize the end of her time as a girl she gets a stiff beaded rectangular apron called ‘isiphephetu’, as a sign of her going into womanhood and being of marriageable age. The rings around the neck, arms and legs are called ‘isigolwani’.

Folklore is in the air… uhm… ear!


Object Initiation doll
Origin South Africa
Culture Ndebele people
Medium Wood, beads, leather, string
Mark or Tag None
Made by Unknown
Size H 28 cm
Dated Not dated
Acquired Fleemarket second half 2010's


Here's a postcard that matches this doll. It shows how the people living in South Africa are dressed in their traditional costume.

Text on the back of the postcard: 'A Ndebele girl'. No postmark.

Happy collecting,