Interview with Sal Masekela

With unity and transformation at the heart of the Ballito Pro presented by O’Neill former pro surfer Pierre Tostee connected with Sal Masekela, to share and unlock his vision and purpose for life, through his African Surf Adventure.


What is your mission and your ‘message’ in life?

My mission is to squeeze as much joy out of this life as is humanly possible. I don’t necessarily have a codified ‘message’ but I’d say that I try to stay rooted in being open to learning about and accepting the incredible differences in the various cultures that make us human beings. It’d be such a boring existence if we were all the same.


As an ambassador for the Ballito Pro presented by O’Neill you will be connecting with the world’s best surfers and then immersing yourself into the local culture and heritage in the heart of KwaDukuza and Zululand. You will also be inspiring young surfers from the iLembe surfing Association, Ubuntu Surf Club and Surfers not Street Children. What would you want to take away from this rich and diverse experience and what would you want to leave behind?

I’m just excited to get to spend an extended amount of time surfing with African children. Growing up, I could and can still count on one hand the experiences I’ve had surfing with people that look like me. When I first surfed in Durban in 1991, I saw no African surfers and was given a very difficult time by the police for even surfing. To see now, all these kids ripping in Durban and across the country and doing so with distinct African flair…I really look forward to being in that energy.


What are you most passionate about now, at this time of your life, and why?

I’m most passionate about my family and upholding my father’s legacy as well as continuing to have opportunities to tell important stories that hopefully connect us together as human beings.


What is currently fueling your passion and purpose in life?

The loss of my father has sharpened the lens of what I want the rest of my life to be and not take any of it for granted.


Your career to date is well documented. What does the season ahead hold for Sal Masekela with regards to your dreams and desires?

Besides, hopefully surfing some great waves in South Africa, Fiji and Indonesia this season, I’m looking forward to getting back in the studio and completing a third ALEKESAM album.


What is it that you love about South Africa and why?

I love South Africa’s incredible cultural diversity, the melding of traditional and modern music, it’s dance, it’s broad landscape; but most of all I love the relentless passion, spirit and resilience of its people despite the enormous social and economic challenges they are still faced with to this day.