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How South African Startup Mami Wata is Rewriting African Culture

Mami Wata
Written by See Africa Today

Surfing in Africa is a foreign concept, so much that most westerners believe it is non-existent. However, Mami Wata, a South African surfing entity is rewriting the African surfing culture.

The Mami Wata brand is a borrowed concept from West Africa meaning ‘Mother Ocean’. Literally, ‘Mami Wata’ signifies West African goddess.

Nevertheless, the brand is doing so much in promoting and celebrating the African surfing culture. Besides, the entity is taking a whole new angle about surfing globally.

Mami Wata

Mami Wata. Photo/CNN

What Mami Wata Does

The brand believes in the power of African surfing. It also focuses on the power in the power of creativity to be a force for good.

Selema Masekela, Peet Pienaar, Andy Davis and Nick Dutton is the quartet behind it all. They say the surfing brand represents love and belief.

Mami Wata AfroSurf Book

Following international success in promoting surfing in Africa, Mami Wata intends to take things a step further by publishing a book that contains everything one needs to know about the surfing culture in Africa.

The Mami Wata quartet says that it the book explains to length about Africa’s surfing culture. It adds that it brings to an end unanswered questions about this African sport.

Moreover, it details how the startup came to be in the middle of the pandemic.

The book, titled AfroSurf, is a celebration of surfing and related street culture on the continent of Africa.

An official press release states that Afrosurf documents and expresses the unique surfing lives and experiences of people from countries such as Morocco, Senegal, Mozambique, So Tomé, South Africa, Liberia, Somalia, Nigeria, Cote D’Ivoire, Cabo Verde, Sierra Leone, Madagascar and other African countries.

Using funds earned through a Kickstarter campaign, the 300-page art book celebrates surf culture and lifestyles through history, photography, stories, profiles, interviews and design. The book is available for purchase on Amazon and other online retailers.

The book contains breathtaking photographs taken in a variety of nations, including Sierra Leone, Morocco, and Zimbabwe, among others, and provides a very interesting picture of the expanding tendency across the African continent as a whole.

According to Mami Wata co-founder Selema Masekela, Afosurf is a book that he feels will redefine and broaden how the world looks at surf culture.

Masekela is also an Emmy-nominated producer and pundit renowned for his work on VICE, E!, ESPN/ABC, and National Geographic, among other networks.

Mami Wata

Mami Wata. Photo/Wave for change

Did Surfing Originate in Africa?

From Senegal to Angola, surfing evolved on its own. Thousands of kilometres of the warm, swell-filled ocean surround Africa, and the continent is home to many strong swimmers.

It is also a harbor for sea-faring fishermen and seagoing merchants who are well-versed in the art of surfing. They always had surf-canoe crews capable of riding waves up to 10 feet high.

Kevin Dawson, a professor of history at the University of California, Berkeley, writes extensively on the relationship between Africans and the ocean. He has a published book detailing it all.

With Dawson on board to shed some light on the rich history of African surfing, it’s no wonder that Mami Wata commissioned him to write the 300-page monograph “Afrosurf”.

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About the author

See Africa Today

Pharis Kinyua is the editor of See Africa Today. With over seven years of experience in digital media, he has a soft spot for African tours and travel. His drive is to tell the rest of the world what Africa offers, the best accommodation facilities, national parks, culture, shopping malls and best airline deals to travel to Africa

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