South Africa Dolls Ndebele People

Two dolls made by the Ndebele people. Not a matching pair but going well together. The Ndebele people mainly live in the northeast of South Africa. The female represents a married woman. The copper or brass rings called ‘idzila’ around her neck and legs symbolize her bond and faithfulness to her husband. She wears a five-fingered apron or ‘ijogolo’. This apron is only for women who have children within marriage. Around the shoulders is a marriage blanket – ‘nguba’ – decorated with beadwork, for each year of marriage more beadwork is added to the blanket. The male’s attire seems to be a mixture of traditional and modern elements. He carries a stick and a shield made of cow hide, used for stick fighting.

Folklore is in the air… uhm… ear!


Object Tribal dolls
Origin South Africa
Culture Ndebele people
Medium Fabric, wood, beads, imitation leather, plastic, animal skin, wire
Mark or Tag None
Made by Unknown
Size H 43 cm
Dated Not dated
Acquired Online second half 2010's


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

Text on the back of the postcard: 'Bantu life - Bantoelewe. Ndebele woman and young child. Ndebel-vrou en jong kind'. Dated 1965.

Happy collecting,