ON THE RADAR Mami Wata - Surfs Up in Africa
Mami Wata is Africa’s first surf brand. The Surf Concept Store is the love child of ad man Nick Dutton, surf journalist Andy Davis and designer Peet Pienaar.
Acknowledging the big surf culture on the continent, the trio set out to capture its own surf identity. ‘There’s a big surf culture here, and yet everyone wears international brands that speak to the cultures of Australia, California and Hawaii.’ says Nick Dutton ’We should embrace the fact that we are a continent surrounded by four different seas and oceans. Africa is the destination for some of the world’s finest surf breaks.’
The label sees itself as a surf, adventure, travel and design brand. This is echoed in their brightly themed store that houses not only their showroom that showcases their collection of hats, shorts, tees and sweats, accessories, prints and surfboards, but also a funky coffee and music store.
The brand also engages in social and charitable issues, like fundraising projects (e.g. Harpers Surf Club, Liberia) and the sponsoring of young up-and-coming surfers such as the 22-year-old Avuyile (Avo) Ndamase who was the subject of a promotional short film (WOZA) made by Mami Wata. The film has gone on to win numerous awards including Best Cinematography at the Patagonia Film Festival in LA.
As for the company logo.. the banana and the company's name. According to Nick Dutton, bananas are their common fixation, as is their desire to support the local manufacturing industries. The group insist that all Mami Wata products are produced locally and in ’pleasant working environments, adhering to decent labor standards and health and safety conditions.’ They chose the name Mami Wata because they felt that nothing encapsulated the spirit of their brand better than the mystical tale of Mami Wata - the West African Pidgin English name for the African water deity or Mother Ocean.
With Mami Wata recently named as the ‘hottest brand coming out of South Africa’ by WGSN, a leading European trend forecaster, we can expect great things to come from this African brand.