A surf lifestyle brand with a narrative rooted somewhere other than Southern California or Australia was a longtime dream for television host and producer Selema Masekela, son of late South African jazz legend Hugh Masekela. “As a kid all the way through working in the surf apparel industry, I never saw any brands showcasing surfing from the perspective of anyone that looked like me,” he says. But all that changed in 2017, when Masekela was invited to become a co-founder of South African surf brand Mami Wata.
Fast-forward to the present: Masekela is readying for the stateside debut of Mami Wata’s apparel line, which launches online Oct. 13. Crafted from raw African materials such as spun cotton from Malawi (and produced sustainably, with fully recyclable packaging), offerings include shorts, sweaters, hats and tees. Priced between $45 and $100, the pieces are emblazoned with motifs that speak to African cultures and mythologies, and nod to the continent’s surf heritage. “Our button-up printed shirts are pure fire,” says Masekela. The release comes on the heels of Mami Wata’s “Afrosurf,” a coffee table tome that shines a spotlight on the tradition of wave riding throughout Africa.
“This is a brand that aims to redefine the surf-culture conversation as a whole, via the largest surfable continent on the planet as its jumping-off point,” Masekela says. “I believe that Mami Wata can help to truly alter the world’s perception of surfing by introducing it to the idea of an African surf culture and expanding the definition of the global landscape.” mamiwatasurf.com