“The continent is too large to describe,” writes Ryszard Kapuscinski of Africa in the introduction to his book The Shadow Of The Sun. “It is a veritable ocean, a separate planet, a varied, immensely rich cosmos. Only with the greatest simplification, for the sake of convenience, can we say ‘Africa’.”
Indeed, while surfers have been visiting parts of the continent for half a century, it’s only in the last decade or so that the surfing world has really woken up to the true magnitude of the riches it holds.
The unveiling of several world-class waves including Skeleton Bay and The Snake have played their part, but there’s also been a marked shift in the way Africa is depicted in surf stories and film; not merely as a wave-rich and empty frontier to be conquered by visitors, but as a place with its own buzzing pockets of surf, music and street culture worth celebrating.
Web clips like Mikey February’s Nu Rythmo, Dylan Graves’ Weird Waves: Nigeria, Sam Bleakley’s Brilliant Corners and Kepa Acero’s It’s Not Only About The Waves have introduced the world to some of these stories but there’s no doubt there are still so many more to be told.
Now, Mami Wata, an organisation dedicated to sharing the power of African surfing are crowdfunding a new book called AFRO SURF that promises to lift the lid on more of Africa’s undocumented surfing hubs through a collection of stories, profiles and thought pieces.
Together with Selema Masekela and some of Africa’s finest photographers and writers, the 300-page tome will explore original African surf culture from Morocco to Somalia, Mozambique, South Africa and beyond.
“Global surf culture is dominated by the old Western narrative,” reads the Kickstarter blurb, “We’re creating this book because Africa’s surf story needs to be told. Africa has a unique history of wave riding, our own diverse and original expressions of indigenous surf culture. The Motherland is also the final frontier of global surf exploration. Surfing, and protecting these natural, economic, and social resources (waves) will play an important role in the development of the continent.”
The team are aiming to raise £30k to compile and print the first edition of the book which will be sent out to backers in December, with all subsequent profits raised from future print runs going straight to Waves for Change and Surfers Not Street Children.
Click here to go to the Kickstarter and secure a copy!
Cover photo: Mukune // Hand Studio