“When I’m surfing, I’m free”- Free Surfer, Khanyi Mngqibisa

The second part of our ‘Free Surfers’ series introduces us to Khanyisa Mqqncibisa, the first female international lifeguard and surfing coach in South Africa.


This is a story of courage, where racial and gender stereotypes excluded her from doing what she loved. Raised in the township of Khayelitsha where surfing was an uncommon activity in the community, especially for women, she chose to go where others didn’t and found her freedom in the vastness and beauty of the ocean.


Khanyi found her purpose by motivating people through her deep connection with the sea. Surfing the waves and saving lives have been the highlights of her life’s journey, becoming a hero to everyone who meets her. She looks back to a time when it was common to hear people say, “Surfing is only for men” or “Black people can’t swim’’ and she smiles knowing that she beat the odds. The ocean is her liberation, her healing and her testimony as she serves as an example of what passionate people can do in nature’s grasp.

“When I’m surfing, I’m free”- Free Surfer, Khanyi Mngqibisa
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