Swept up in the streets, he found his feet on a surfboard


The best surfers flow with the ocean, their boards arcing in manifestation of the current’s mood. The sea bows to nothing. But understanding its movements brings reward. Respect is a rule of life. The streets taught that to Ntando Msibi before he ever stood on a board.

Orphaned as a child, Msibi roamed Durban’s underbelly. He scrapped for food, but mostly for glue – anything to escape reality for a spell. Little thought was given to the future, as everything became about survival. Alone in the world, the idea of ‘better’ was laughable. Until Msibi wandered along the beach one day and saw some children he knew from the streets surfing. If they could, so could he. The surfers told him that they came from Surfers Not Street Kids, a project that brings purpose to the lives of the abandoned through surfing and mentorship.

Msibi had seen all he needed. He was in, and with something positive to focus on he began to flourish. “Surfing has become my reason for being,” he says. The young goofy-footer’s talent is clear, seeing him selected to represent South Africa at two international events to date, one in Ecuador and the other in California. Now an ambassador for the organisation that turned his life around and has been his home for the last decade, Msibi hopes to show street kids that there is a place for them on this earth. A reason to live.