Friday, May 23, 2014

Out of the Box: Princess of South Africa Barbie

Barbie, Princess of South Africa
As part of my quest to cut down on the amount of space being eaten up by toys in their boxes, yesterday I de-boxed my 2003 Princess of South Africa Barbie (my only Barbie, actually).

I've always had the impression that most of the "Barbie Collectibles"-labelled dolls were actually designed to stay in their boxes, so this doll managed to surprise me by looking better out of the box.  Freed from the packaging, the colours on her blanket and necklaces became that much more vibrant.  And I was able to get a closer look at her face, and discovered that her eye paint was actually quite a bit more detailed than I'd expected, giving her a soft and thoughtful expression.

The doll could just as easily been called "Ndebele Princess", because she's very obviously dressed in that style - there's none of the cultural mash-up of the "Tribal Beauty" Barbie here, and the box actually goes into some detail about the cultural elements and related ethno-linguistic groups (although a bit of it walks a rather patronizing line, I don't think the line was crossed).
In the box. 
The inner packaging is decorated with Ndebele house-style geometric patterns

The included accessories include a dress, a shawl/blanket, a staff, two headbands, ankle rings, earrings, neck rings, and three faux-beaded necklaces.  The necklaces are a little plastic-y for my tastes, but every other element is lovely.  If you've every seen a Ndebele beaded doll, you'll recognize the stylistic similarities.
With a beaded tourist doll.

 The doll also comes with a stand, which was so well-hidden in the packaging that I originally wasn't even sure that it had been included.  Being barefoot with the standard Barbie heel-feet means that this doll can't stay upright on her own, so the stand is essential.

Overall, I'd give this doll top marks for almost everything, and I'm glad I took her out of the box since that let me fully appreciate her.
A better view of the eye paint and jewellery.


  1. She does look very well done, especially for the Princess line.

    1. It's true, she's a solid doll! :)

      I wonder if the Princess line has been steadily improving over the years - the most recent ones seem to straddle the play/display line, but the older ones do seem to be pretty hit or miss. I admit that this one is making me want to hunt more of them out though!

  2. I have this doll, too. I second that she is a lovely doll with a delicate face screening. I also like that her head is in good proportion to the rest of her body ;-)

    1. It's true, they did a great job with this one! :)

  3. She IS lovely. You are right about her thoughtful expression.

    And yes, my Bratz guy does have a red guitar.

    1. Thanks!

      I thought so about the guitar - I was seriously tempted to grab that one too before reminding myself that I probably didn't need that many versions of the same doll. ;)