No. 087 THE AFRICAN SURF CULTURE OF MAMI WATA
Theme: Simply Beautiful
When Mami Wata says it’s creating a brand inspired by African surf culture, it sure doesn’t miss the mark. Surf boards, apparel, accessories and prints with, among other symbols, surfing zebras and ostriches, make a statement that this is a label talking very much to our continent.
“We started Mami Wata because, when you go to a surf shop, it’s just a sea of sameness from a design perspective,” says co-founder Nick Dutton.
The brand has tapped into Africa’s surfing history to reflect more local communities. “Globally, the cultural story around surf was one of blonde-haired, blue-eyed men and boys, but you just have to look at Muizenberg to see the diversity in race, gender and age,” says Dutton of the surfers on Cape Town’s popular beach.
Muizenberg is one of the 133 surf spots included on the map of Africa designed by the Mami Wata team as part of its mission to strengthen African surf tourism. A book it plans to publish at the end of the year, Afro Surf, will offer further insights on African surf culture from places such as Somalia and Ghana, sharing stories from almost 20 countries.
Besides growing local economies (all its products are manufactured in Africa), Mami Wata supports surf-therapy organisations such as Waves for Change, making waves more accessible to African children. Besides being a creative force for good, Dutton says the brand invites people to dream beyond borders. “Our ambition is to inspire more people to surf in Africa.”
100 Beautiful Things is presented by the V&A Waterfront in celebration of South Africa’s creativity, compassion, ingenuity and resilience. Every week we will be showcasing five amazingly beautiful creative things that make us proud. It is curated in partnership with @platformcreative. To nominate a beautiful thing, visit