A New Project Hopes to Document Africa’s Overlooked Surf Culture

The popular image of surfers tends to look a particular way: blonde hair, blue eyes, and probably either American or Australian. But a new project hopes to show another side of surf culture, by highlighting the rich history of the sport in Africa.

A book, AFROSURF, is being curated by the African surf brand Mami Wata, and aims to be the first title to comprehensively document and celebrate surf culture on the continent. At the time of writing, the brand is attempting to raise £30,000 GBP (approx.. $39,000 USD) to cover the costs of printing and producing the book. Thereafter, all of the profit from future sales will go to a duo of “surf therapy” organisations in Africa: Waves for Change and Surfers Not Street Children.

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The book will feature over 200 photographs spanning 18 countries, capturing the diverse experiences of surfers in Morocco, Ghana, Senegal, Mozambique, Sao Tome, South Africa, Liberia, Somalia, Nigeria, Cote DíIvoire, Cabo Verde, Sierra Leone, Madagascar and more. Alongside that, it will feature mixed media including comic books, essays, and profiles of surfers from the continent.

In a short video to promote the project, Mami Wata’s co-founder Selema Masekela said that it “aims to showcase all of the different layers, unique aspects, style and tradition and African culture that contribute to this idea.”

AFROSURF – THE BOOK from Mami Wata on Vimeo.

The AFROSURF campaign launches today at its Kickstarter page. Early donors will receive incentives including Mami Wata merchandise.​
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