Surfer dude

Surfing as leisure and a sport has historically been associated with whites in South Africa, though that’s not necessarily true in practice. In fact a few documentary films (for example, “Taking back the waves“), the new feature film “Otelo Burning” and the work of photographer Richard Johnson (scroll to the right) have pointed to a long tradition of surfing among young black people in South Africa’s coastal cities.*  So, I always wondered when some creative director would pounce on the idea to commodify that history and struggle for recognition. Well, Cell C, a mobile/cell operator has done so now as part of its “Be Now” campaign targeted at young people with an ad focusing on”budding” semi-pro surfer Avuyile Ndamase from the Eastern Cape province.

* The recent documentary, “Whitewash,” interrogated similar themes in surfing in the United States.

Sean Jacobs

Sean Jacobs is on the international affairs faculty of The New School. He is the Founder and Editor of Africa is a Country.


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