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Photo of clay doll, not ‘world’s darkest child’

“World's darkest child in South Africa,” reads the caption of a photo posted on Facebook. The photo is of a small baby that looks suspiciously like a doll.

But does it actually show a real child – the “world’s darkest”, and “in South Africa”?


‘Sculpted polymer clay monkey gorilla doll’

The photo and its claim have been doing the rounds across the world since 2015. 

A reverse image search brought us to Etsy, a US-based e-commerce company specialising in craftwork.

Here the photo is posted with the caption: “OOAK Baby Sculpted Polymer Clay Monkey Gorilla Doll Poseable Miniature”.

“Cute little gorilla girl hand sculpted from polymer clay,” its description reads. “She has lots of detail which is hard to capture in pictures. This little cutie measures approximately 5.5 inches. She has a soft body made from a white cotton fabric that is filled with tiny pellets. Her head and arms and legs are all moveable which allows for many cute poses.” But the item is sold out.

The doll was made by Lilah Pearson. Her Pinterest page “Polymer clay sculpture - my art” shows many similar creations. Polymer clay is an artificial clay made with PVC plastic.

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