Back to the Water

Coming Soon


Retracing thousands of years of history, conflict, love, and reconciliation, this forthcoming podcast is an eight-part series on how people lose a connection to their natural and cultural heritage …. and what it takes to get it back.


Back to the Water, hosted by Pippa Ehrlich and Zolani Mahola, shares stories about South Africans’ relationships with the ocean and each other. Featuring interviews with activists, scientists, historians, artists, fishers, sociologists, healers and more, it explores Apartheid’s lingering effects on our connection to nature and what it takes to find our way back. The series examines how natural environments mirror human generational trauma, and what is needed for people and ecosystems to heal.

Zolani Mahola, also known as The One Who Sings, is a famous South African homegrown artist, a Xhosa daughter of apartheid, and a bridge between worlds. Although she grew up close to the ocean’s edge, it felt very far away from Zolani’s day-to-day reality. She seldom swam nor went near the shore. Years later she found herself singing in the ocean – a new awakening.  Back to the Water is also Zolani’s personal story woven into her greater mission: to understand the ancient peoples of South Africa’s coastlines, what social and political forces pulled them away, and how communities are reconnecting again.

The Director of My Octopus Teacher, Pippa Ehrlich will join Zolani Mahola as together they share South Africa’s history and the origins of our human connection to the natural world.

The first episode of Back to the Water, “More Than One Octopus” will  premiere at 2024 Tribeca Festival and will be available on all podcast platforms on 1 June 2024, with the rest of the series due to be completed in 2025.

Back to the Water is a production of the Sea Change Project.  Our pilot episode was created in collaboration with producer Cat Jaffee, House of Pod.

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