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Zandile Ndhlovu on Ocean Innovation

The storyteller in this episode of our Ocean Innovation Challenge series grew up in landlocked Soweto. Yet, Zandile Ndhlovu is South Africa’s first black free diving instructor.



Zandile’s passion for the ocean and the conservation of the ocean is palpable and urgent. She is a budding filmmaker who is committed to documenting the magical beauty of the ocean whilst bearing witness to the ways in which humanity cannot keep its own out of the ocean.


She is a voice that challenges the assumptions we make about the ocean being for all. Zandile is not afraid to share with us that the ocean space is currently undiverse. She seeks to ensure young black South Africans start their positive relationship with the ocean at an early age. Zandile is curious to find out the career and lifestyle choices young South Africans can make after they have been exposed to the ocean. The Black Mermaid Foundation was established for this very reason.




On the ocean economy, Zandile shows up as a lighthouse; cautioning us about how rampant economic interests can override matters of sustainability. She is a believer that entrepreneur-led innovation can build a sustainable ocean economy. Pay attention to the advice she has for entrepreneurs that comes from the art of freediving: breathe, trust yourself and keep exploring! As a bonus, check out Zandile’s TEDxCapeTown talk and enjoy.


Watch the full interview on YouTube.

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Listen on Spotify, Anchor and Apple Podcast:


To learn more about the Ocean Innovation Challenge, visit our website.


Join our Ocean Innovation Network to meet like-minded entrepreneurs, industry experts and access inspiring content.


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