A documentary that challenges stigma and prejudice [watch]

Corona Studios’ second local production, free surferan original digital content series featuring South African surfers Cass Collier and Khanyisa Mngqibisa – now available on YouTube.

free surfer deals with the difficult stigma of belonging, including the challenge of prejudice based on race and gender, to find freedom in the ocean.


“I’ve spent my whole life in the ocean and that’s where I find my freedom. Once you’ve experienced that first wave, everything changes. I think the ocean is synonymous with healing – and there is no greater feeling of freedom than that. Everyone belongs in the ocean,” said Collier, the first black world champion to ride the big waves.

Winner of the Reef ISA Big Wave Championship in 1999 and one of the best surf coaches in the world, surfers today come from all over the world to be taught by Collier at his surf school in Muizenberg, from where he teaches children underprivileged communities how to surf.

“My father Ahmed Collier was the first black surfer to go to all the ‘white’ beaches in Cape Town and confront the apartheid government. Often we would go to the beach to surf and leave in a police van, but he realized the freedom that surfing would give me,” Collier said. “It did and it still does.”


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The second episode of free surfer recognizes Mngqibisa, an internationally qualified lifeguard and surf coach who grew up in Khayelitsha, Cape Town, in a single parent family. She fell in love with swimming at 12, took up lifesaving in high school and started surfing at 21.

“One of the highlights of my passion for the ocean is seeing more black people participate in a sport they maybe once thought wasn’t for them. When the community sees a black surfer and a girl, from from the same underprivileged community as them, the perception is changing that surfing is only for white people or rich people,” said Mngqibisa, whose dream is to start a young black girls surf program.

“In our community, we face many challenges – GBV, poverty, substance abuse and teenage pregnancy. When the young people I train surf with their peers, it gives them a sense of belonging, self-confidence and purpose. I want my community to feel motivated and encouraged to break free from the negative and go to any beach and enjoy nature like I do. When I started surfing, with the support of my mother, I changed. I was no longer the same Khanyisa as before.



Melanie Nicholson, Corona SA Marketing Manager, said: “free surfer is about two local heroes who inspire people, especially their communities, through their deep connection to the ocean. We’re proud to present a short-form series that represents the triumph of the human spirit as they become their best selves in the ocean, outdoors, in nature.