Bantu Wax’s first surf shack is
open for business – and good vibrations - in Dakar
Yodit Eklund’s surf brand Bantu Wax has ditched its global stockists – goodbye Barney’s, Pilgrim, Opening Ceremony et al - in favour of a new retail concept that nestles directly on the shores of Africa. Having enjoyed considerable success with her African-made, colourful beachwear since launching in 2009, Eklund has recently re-established the brand by opening her first surf shack in Dakar, thereby bringing it directly to the people and places that inspired her in the first place.
“I couldn’t be more thrilled to begin a new chapter in the brand’s history,” says Eklund, who grew up travelling across the continent with her Ethiopian mother and American father before studying at UC Berkley. “I’ve always been passionate about adding value to Africa’s beaches and fully engaging the emerging youth culture on the continent. The first Bantu store aspires to serve as the nerve centre for this movement.”
She worked with Ivorian architect Issa Diabaté and collaborated with local artists to turn disused shipping containers into a contemporary space. “I wasn't finding anything modern that made sense for Bantu Wax and it didn’t feel right to launch a brand about Africa's future in a building of Africa's colonial past,” she says of the decision to swerve Dakar’s crumbling French architecture in favour of this new building. The structure also expresses a broader vision. “Africa has been shipping raw material for centuries. Today there is a different export, Africa's youth culture.”
“Africa has been shipping raw material
for centuries. Today there is a different
export, Africa's youth culture”
The downstairs area focuses on retail, selling shorts, wet suits, t-shirts, boards and accessories while upstairs welcomes you to an alfresco juice bar where you can sip smoothies while keeping an eye on the inviting ocean. “It’s just off of the corniche in Virage, right on a surf break and a paddle away from a few other surf spots like N'gor,” she says of the store’s sweet location. It has become a hang out for “surfers, teenagers, and those who are young at heart” and also hosts parties, film screenings and surfing lessons.
Since its opening, influencers Petite Noir, Jenke Ahmed Tailly, Shala Monroque, Okmalumkoolkat and Musa N. Nxumalo have all shown support for Bantu Wax and plans are afoot for further stores in South Africa, Ghana and Morocco. It’s time to take-off.
Visit Bantu Wax