Zimbabwe's skateboarding gives urban kids a new lift

09 December 2018 - 00:00 By SHARON MAZINGAIZO

Zimbabwean youngsters are getting their spin on, with skateboarding emerging as a growing urban trend.
Lindani Mataure, co-founder of the Zim Skate Foundation, said it is both a recreational activity and sport young people take up to avoid sliding into crime.
"The idea of a new youth development project was actually born out of boredom and frustration because of the lack of healthy activities for young people in Zimbabwe.
"As it turns out, skateboarding is something we all had in common and are passionate about," Mataure said this week.
In association with the Harare City Council, the foundation regularly has pop-up events and workshops to raise awareness of the sport.
But the lack of proper infrastructure such as skate parks and congestion on the city's roads have hindered the growth of the sport.
"We applaud government efforts towards improving our road networks, especially in urban areas, but there is still much work to be done. Rough roads put a strain on skateboard wheels and cause balance issues for the skater," he said.
"Sk8er boi" Kudzai Chisvo said he often has to be content with skating in the driveway at his cousin's home.
"My experience earned me a position at the skatepark at North Beach in Durban. I could have been a professional skater if proper facilities existed in Zimbabwe," he said.
An extension programme to grow the skateboarding community is the Skate Zimbabwe Project, promoted by the Jibilika Trust.
Founder Plot Mhako said they held skateboarding sessions in low-income and marginalised communities.
"Very few young people have skateboards, but since we have regular programmes in communities things are improving. We also have some skateboarders donating boards and spare parts and all resources are for free," said Mhako.
Wayne Klinkenberg, who has been skateboarding for 17 years, said the sport helped him overcome numerous personal obstacles.
"As a teenager I often just kept to myself. But skateboarding helped me overcome my challenges. It became part of my life. It gives me the freedom to vent and release my emotions," he said.
Chenai Gwandure, who is now based in Cape Town, said he would like skateboarders in Zimbabwe to have access to public skateparks in different parts of the country.
"I hope it can give purpose to the despondent youth and change at least one child's life. I would like skateboarding to be accessible on school grounds to build a healthy, safe and supportive community for children."..

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