How a West African sea spirit inspired a surf brand
2019-09-26 23:13

Cape Town (CNN Business)When a South African surf company wanted to put African culture on the global surfing map, it knew it needed a distinct African symbol.


It chose the name Mami Wata or "Mother Ocean," a mermaid-like spirit from West African folklore with long, flowing hair who followers believe can charm snakes.

它选择了Mami Wata或“ Mother Ocean”这个名字,一种来自西非民间传说的美人鱼般的精神,长而飘逸的头发,追随者们认为它们可以吸引蛇。

The Cape Town brand designs and produces surf wear, surfboards and accessories. Launched in 2017, it aims to move perceptions of surf culture away from western stereotypes and towards "the power of African surf."

开普敦品牌设计并生产冲浪服,冲浪板和配件。 该计划于2017年启动,旨在将人们对冲浪文化的认识从西方的刻板印象转变为“非洲冲浪的力量”。

Surf company Mami Wata is aiming to represent the growing diversity of African surfing.

Surf company Mami Wata is aiming to represent the growing diversity of African surfing.

冲浪公司Mami Wata的目标是代表越来越多的非洲冲浪。

"Surfing's history has been told through the lens of Australian brands and American brands, which is largely a blond-haired, blue-eyed story, whereas actually there's a lot of people that story isn't relevant for," Mami Wata's co-founder Nick Dutton said.

Mami Wata的联合创始人说:“冲浪的历史是通过澳大利亚品牌和美国品牌的镜头来讲述的,这在很大程度上是一个金发碧眼的故事,而实际上,很多人认为这个故事与他们无关。”尼克·杜顿(Nick Dutton)说。

The company is trying to change that by telling a different story.


Inspired by Africa


"Mami Wata is the sea spirit," Dutton explained. "People who believe in her believe if you go into the ocean and she takes you to be her lover and you survive, you'll come back and be better looking and more successful.

“Mami Wata是海神,”杜顿解释说。相信她的人相信,如果你去了海洋,她带你去做她的情人,你活下来,你会回来,变得更漂亮,更成功。

"That story of transformation and the impact and power of nature for us was very powerful," he continued. "We feel it captures the story of African surf."


Mami Wata hopes to represent the growing diversity of African surfing by incorporating African patterns and African creators.

Mami Wata希望通过融入非洲模式和非洲创造者,代表非洲冲浪日益多样化的趋势。

"Our designs are inspired by Africa... stories of African adventure," said Dutton.



非洲大陆,特别是南非,是一个快速增长的冲浪中心,拥有数千英里的海岸线和几个受欢迎的海滩。而Mami Wata想帮助确保冲浪的场景能反映出每个参与其中的人。

"One of the biggest things that surfing is changing is when most people go to the beach now, they will see somebody like themselves surfing," Dutton added.


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The company develops and manufactures all its products locally, using sustainable materials.


"Our mantra is where we can we'll use African materials, but critically for us we manufacture everything here," said Dutton.


As well as creating jobs directly, Mami Wata hopes to attract surfers from around the world to South Africa.

除了直接创造就业机会外,Mami Wata还希望吸引世界各地的冲浪爱好者到南非来。

"We've got a firm belief in the role that surfing can play in the development of local economies in Africa," said Dutton. "Africa is the final frontier in terms of undiscovered surf."


A bigger impact


Mami Wata is also using surfing to help improve South African society.

Mami Wata还利用冲浪来帮助改善南非社会。

The company supports initiatives such as Waves for Change, a surf therapy organization that helps disadvantaged communities and vulnerable children.

该公司支持诸如Waves for Change这样的倡议,这是一个帮助弱势社区和弱势儿童的冲浪治疗组织。

"Mami Wata and Waves for Change, it's a great combination. The brand itself, it really drives surfing in Africa," said Apish Thsethsa, a surfer who works with both organizations.

“Mami Wata和Waves for Change,这是一个很好的组合。“这个品牌本身,它确实推动了非洲的冲浪运动,”与这两个组织合作的冲浪者阿皮什·塞斯萨(Apish Thsethsa)说。

"We teach young people, getting them to know how to cope with stress using surfing," Thsethsa said.


The surf company designs and produces its products in Africa.

The surf company designs and produces its products in Africa.


The company is hoping its activities will help produce the next surfing superstars.


"It's getting the kids off the streets," said Hugh Thompson, who shapes Mami Wata's surf boards by hand. "It's including them in a lifestyle of note... some of the best surfers in the world are South Africans and these South African kids on their way up are going to make their mark on the world [of] surfing," he added.

“这让孩子们离开了街道,”休·汤普森说,他用手塑造了Mami Wata的冲浪板。它包括在一个值得注意的生活方式…他补充说:“世界上最好的冲浪者中有一些是南非人,而这些在上升途中的南非孩子将在世界冲浪运动中崭露头角。”

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