East Africa Inspires Šuns Akis to Tell the Story of A Fisherman’s Secret

All images by Šuns Akis. Use with Creative Commons permission.

Some places make such a big impression on us that they drive us to not only capture them in photographs, but also inspire us to immortalize them through other creative stuff. This is exactly what happened to Lithuanian photographer Šuns Akis while roaming East Africa. In his set, titled Fisherman’s Secret, he treats us to a beautiful selection of photos from his sea-bound adventures, which is also accompanied by a short story.

Akis introduces A Fisherman’s Secret — which is also the title of the short story — with an anecdote about his months-long adventure in East Africa.

“A fisherman named Morzina invited me to spend a few days with him in the boat, fishing. All together combined the crew on the dhow spoke about 3 words of English, thus I was stranded to exercising my basic Swahili. Some messages were lost along the way, but the ones I received inspired me to write a story about a fisherman.”

The short story tells us about a protagonist setting sail to Ziwayu Island, which is revered as a holy place and visited by the fishing people once a year, guided by the seasonal northern wind. Akis imagined this protagonist as a “strange fisherman with an unorthodox trait.” As we browse through the photos, we also follow the fisherman’s musings and his solo journey to the sacred fishing grounds. The photos fit the story perfectly (or vice versa), so if you’re in the mood for a nice quick read, you’ll surely like this.

This, I think, is the best part:


“What are you doing to the boat?” I asked.

“I am blessing it. But the smoke itself is not a part of the ritual. It is merely a signal.”

“A signal for what?” I inquired.

“For you.” The old man took me by the arm and guided me aboard. He himself got behind the rear of the boat and started pushing it, with me inside, to the sea.

“Wait, what do you want me to do?’ I was confused.

“Sail. I want you to reach Ziwayu.”

“Why?’ The boat was already kissing the waves.

“Because to me there is nothing sadder in this world than wasted potential.”

He smiled, loosened his grip on the boat and the sea took me in.



Visit Šuns Akis’ Behance portfolio and website, and make sure you read the full story!