Wade in the Water Premiere

May 2, 2024
FOUR SURF: Nathan Fluellen, Natasha Smith, Sahfilli Matturi, and Beyin Abraha, who star in the film.

The award-winning cinematic story of black surfing and aqua culture Wade in the Water is set for its African premiere this Friday 3 May in Cape Town.

Director David Mesfin, Executive Producer Beyin Abraha and Assistant Producer Ezra Mesfin, with Steve Pike of the Wavescape Surf and Ocean Festival, will host the evening, which takes place at Jack Black's Taproom.

Mesfin said he was overjoyed to finally find his way to South Africa, particularly Cape Town, a city he says is "so important to the rich history of black surfing".

"We understand the struggles within South African surf culture that are starting to reap the rewards of diversity and inclusion, but there is work to do. I intend by film to further dismantle racial barriers within surf culture, not just in the US and South Africa, but around the world. To that end, I've been profoundly moved by the unexpected healing power this film carries, resonating deeply with the enduring narrative of the black experience in America."

"The film reclaims a 1,000-year-old tradition that braids historical accounts with modern-day testimonials. It dismantles the racial barriers of conventional surf culture, delving into the overlooked history of black surfing's legacy while honoring its current movement. We hope it inspires the next generation of black surfers, and ignites a wave of cultural resurgence and recognition," Mesfin said.

This is Mesfin’s first film, but as an award-winning creative director and multidisciplinary designer, the transition was smooth, particularly driven by a call for racial justice and positive change following the tragic events of 2020, including the murder of George Floyd. Mesfin, who traces his roots to Ethiopia and the surf culture of St Augustine in Florida, says that his documentary aims to uplift communities and foster dialogue around social justice.

The path of the film has taken Mesfin and Abraha around the world, garnering several awards and accolades. They have worked with countless youth and community upliftment organisations, and have found that surfing is a unique common thread to break down boundaries immersed in the rhythms of the ocean and the beauty of nature.

PULL IN: Especially if you want to win R17,000 in raffle prizes. Get tickets at link below.

Abraha said they were grateful for the amount of support they had received in South Africa, saying that it was “a huge milestone for us”. He said that he appreciated how the nuances of racial dynamics in America and South Africa were sometimes mirrored, but there were many stark differences.

“It’s difficult to weave them into a singular hour long feature film from the perspective of surf culture. We definitely haven't captured all the details across both landscapes and historical timelines, but our goal is really to inspire conversation as a vehicle for people to connect with each other," Abraha said.

Set for release in the upcoming US summer of 2024, the Wade in the Water team have teamed up with Cape Town organisations such as Little Optimist, Sentinel Ocean Alliance, and 9 Miles Project, in the hope that their project continues to inspire, enlighten, and provoke thought.

Wade in the Water Premiere

The organisations have sponsored prizes worth more than R17,000 in value at Jack Black's Taproom on Friday. Prizes will be announced after the Q&A session. Ticket holders must be present or have a representative to claim items. Ticket sales and raffle tickets help support production costs of the film, as well as curation, travel and accommodation for the team to and in Cape Town, so your support is welcomed.

Raffle tickets include one Sealand Gear hamper valued at R3,000; five Mami Wata Afrosurf hoodies from Mami Wata Surf (R1,400 each); a copy of the Afrosport book (R1,300); a group surf lesson for three people from Sentinel Ocean Alliance (R1,000); a signed copy of The Surf Journal from David Mesfin (R650); five 1 hour sailing lessons for 2 kids from Little Optimist (R500 each); and one signed copy of print art from David Mesfin (R400).

"We can’t wait to meet and share the film with you on Friday 3 May at Jack Black’s Taproom in Cape Town," the filmmakers said.

The organisations have sponsored prizes worth more than R17,000
JOSHE CHARGING: Joshe Faulkner, who features in the film, will be at Jack Black's Taproom tomorrow.

Popular local songstress Dani Ville will play a set from 6pm before the introductions start at 7.15. Tickets are available at Quicket. First 50 in the door get a free pint of beer. Food will be available for purchase. Thanks to all our partners and sponsors.

Event producers: @spike_wavescape @beyin_a Venue @jackblackstaproom
Raffle, production, and marketing: @sentineloceanalliance, @littleoptimist, @9milesproject @sealandgear @gone_outdoor @mamiwatasurf
Part flight sponsors: @flytaag through @surffilm


Raffle tickets available as singles and in bundles to increase your chances of winning!

Book film ticket at Quicket