Sal Masekela Hugh Masekela's son backs surfing as a force for good in Africa!

The new clubhouse will create a focal point for this growing surf community and a shared space around which a community can bond and learn new skills.


The United States of America – Sal Masekela – American sports commentator, singer and the son of legendary South African Jazz musician, Hugh Masekela – has backed a Kickstarter campaign to build a clubhouse for young surfers in Harper, Liberia.

In the interview below, Sal talks about his love for surfing and why he chose to put his weight behind this campaign.

As the son of renowned jazz musician Hugh Masekela, did your father inspire your drive to uplift African children in areas like Liberia?

Absolutely. My father taught me the beauty of the entire continent and marvelled at the magic and diversity of its cultures. He dreamt of an X Games type event where people from across the continent would compete in indigenous games on land and sea and showcase their unique abilities. With surfing being so personal to me and a massive part of my life, a campaign like this one with Waves For Change and Mami Wata was an easy choice to put my name on.

Did your love for surfing and your experiences surfing as a child influence your support for the Kickstarter campaign?

Yes, children need opportunity and the ability to be exposed to their full potential. Something as simple as learning to fall down and get back up on a skateboard or negotiating the power of the ocean to the point they learn to ride a wave can expand how a child looks at their overall life’s potential.

What are the social upliftment goals behind the Kickstarter campaign?

This clubhouse will essentially be a lifestyle centre and safe space for the community’s youth to build a long and lasting relationship with the ocean. The ocean builds great human beings.

Why do you think campaigns like this are important?

They have the potential to have an impactful and empowering impact on young lives, and they help to raise awareness about places and communities people weren’t aware of before coming in contact with a campaign like this. So many people have said to me, ‘Wow I didn’t know there was surfing in Liberia”.

What is your favourite thing about surfing?

It’s the most artistic form of athletic expression I know. There is something truly musical about riding the rhythmic energy of a wave. The ocean is a humbling and healing place. It is freeing. It makes you appreciate just how small you really are.

Previously you’ve spoken about your first surf encounter in South Africa just after Apartheid ended, how did this affect you and your decision to help impoverished youth?

That first trip to SA for me was a reminder that for many societies in the world, even in my home the United States, the ocean is considered a space of privilege. So, for me, the idea has since been to break that stereotypical way of thinking and create ways for young people of colour to understand that the ocean is for us just as much as it is anyone else.

Why did you decide to front the Kickstarter campaign?

I have a platform and an audience built from twenty years in the entertainment business. It would be foolish and selfish of me not to use it to promote something like this Waves For Change project in Liberia.

The Mami Wata’s Harper Sliders Club House Kickstarter campaign

The Harpers Sliders Club is run by Waves for Change, a world-leading Surf Therapy organisation which works in communities, like Harper, that have been affected by violence, poverty and conflict. Since the introduction of surfing and Surf Therapy in 2017, surfing has been booming in Harper, an isolated town in the South of Liberia.

The new clubhouse will create a focal point for this growing surf community and a shared space around which a community can bond and learn new skills.

As part of their commitment to being a ‘force for good’ in Africa, local surf brand Mami Wata has lent its support to the Kickstarter campaign, creating a range of limited edition Harper Sliders surf apparel that is only available through Kickstarter.

Pledges can range from as little as R100, which will get you a collectable postcard from Harper Sliders and Mami Wata, to R100 000, which will give two lucky individuals the opportunity to join an 11 day Waves for Change trip to Harper, Liberia with Mami Wata. There is also an exclusive range of clothing, surf apparel and limited edition surfboards shaped by master shaper, Anton Butler.

The Mami Wata’s Harper Sliders Club House Kickstarter campaign ends on 4 May 2019. Click here to support this noble cause.

Sources: Sal Masekela 
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