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South African surf brand, Mami Wata, is donating 100% of the profits from sales on its online store to supporting grassroots African surf businesses impacted by Covid-19.
At a time when many businesses are focussed on their own survival, the South African company is embodying the spirit of 'ubuntu' and lending a hand to those in need.
“Times are tough and we want to lend a hand or, since hands are off limits, an elbow, to our fellow African surfpreneurs through The Elbow Project. All of the profits from any of our products purchased online in April will go towards African surf entrepreneurs that either operate in countries that do not provide social or economic safety nets or own businesses that are too informal to qualify for help”, says Nick Dutton, Mami Wata founder and CEO.
The Elbow Project will see all profits from Mami Wata's range of African-made surfboards, prints and vibrant surf apparel go towards keeping African businesses like Cebo’s Surf Report and The West Factory afloat. To sweeten the deal, the local brand is also throwing in a free Mami Wata cap with purchase.
The surf entrepreneurs that will benefit from this initiative include:
The West Factory, Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire
Founded in 2016, The West Factory is a surfboard workshop dedicated to the rise and development of surf culture in West Africa. The factory builds beautiful, cost-effective surfboards while teaching board shaping techniques and creating jobs. It also supports the community and every surfboard that is made and sold by The West Factory contributes to a scholarship fund and educational packs for local children.
The enterprise strives to create an African surf and beach culture, in which people can make their own boards and don’t have to rely on costly surf equipment from California, Australia and Europe.
Cebo Mafuna, a graduate of the Surfers Not Street Children programme, is well known along the 'Golden Mile' of Durban's city beaches. On any given morning, you'll find him waiting tables the iconic Durban Surf Lifesaving Club. However, as well as being a top-notch waiter, and a talented goofy-foot, he’s also a promising young entrepreneur.
As the creator of a WhatsApp Surf Report, many Durban surf regulars rely on him to let them know when the waves are up. For just R50 a month, Mafuna walks along Durban’s North Pier and sends frequent video updates of the ever-changing surf conditions to his digital following. Cebo's Surf Report delivers a useful and cost-effective service to local surfers, that easily trumps the grainy, static webcams.
However, with the coffee shop closed and surfing prohibited during lockdown, Mafuna is unable to earn a living and faces an uncertain financial future.
Apish Tshetsha, surf coach and tour guide, Cape Town
Apish Tshetsha is a surf coach and project leader at Waves for Change in Masiphumelele, Cape Town. This award-winning surf therapy programme aims to improve the wellbeing and emotional stability of young people who have been adversely affected by poverty, violence and abuse.
Through Airbnb, Tshetsha has been offering surf and social impact experiences for tourists to supplement his income. His guided tours are extremely popular and highly-rated. Unfortunately, due to Covid-19, this business has dried up.
To support these African surf enterprises and find out more about The Elbow Project, visit Mami Wata online.
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