Oct 282011

I’ve always had a dream to travel overland across Africa. Never having done it, I’m pleased that one of my surfboards is going to have the opportunity. In my imagination I can conjure up a quirky image of the surfboard pictured in this post meeting people and making friends, sitting around camp fires and taking an interest in places like Quagadougou, Timbuktu and Marrakech. And hopefully I’ll get a postcard or two.

For the surfboard at least, the first step of that journey starts soon, when a hollow wood surfboard, an enormous 10-ton green truck powered by recycled cooking oil and comedian Mark Sampson hit the long road from Cape Town to Johannesburg.

The reason: Mark’s new comedy show Africa Clockwise runs at the Old Mutual Theatre on the Square in Johannesburg from 1-19 November. And the drive to Jozi is something of a test run for the truck that is going to take Mark, his family and the hollow wooden surfboard clockwise around Africa, starting next year.

That partly explains the truck and the comedian; but why add in the surfboard? When Mark first suggested I make him a surfboard so that he could use it in his show – and take it around Africa to surf – it immediately stuck as a great idea, for several reasons.

One is the above-mentioned dream to travel Africa overland. Two is that Mark’s show is about climate change. He makes you laugh about a very serious subject. But he also gets across some key facts and debates about the environmental quandary we find ourselves in.

It’s what people are calling an eco-comedy and the underlying message encourages people to take steps – however big or small – to combat global warming. And so the surfboard fits in well because by using wood its  an attempt to make a surfboard in a way that represents a step towards something more sustainable – even though we do still drive around polluting the environment in our hunt for waves.

Mark reckons his interest in the board is about showcasing alternative ways of doing things. Climate change is about resilience, being able to adapt and showing that we can make a plan and do things differently to the consumer culture we are part of. The board is part of that, he says.

For more information on Africa Clockwise’s run at the Old Mutual Theatre on the Square in Johannesburg from 1 to 19 November, visit www.theatreonthesquare.co.za


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