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Skate Movie Review: The Story of Ethiopia’s New Skate Scene
By Valentina Diaz

V. Diaz, a journalist and passionate skateboarder, is a full-time writer for SHIT®️ Magazine.


If we would do a birds eye view of what skateboarding is all about and what it does in the life of everyone who is a skater, we would have many stories to tell. And as skateboarding now reaches every corner of the world, we get even more inspiring tales on skating. This documentary tells one of those.

Nowadays kids have the chance to play with toys, go out and have fun with their friends and in the case of skateboarding, they can enjoy to skate in a skatepark, get sponsored and believe in the future. But to other kids, there isn’t the possibility to do something different, and that happens in so many places like Ethiopia.







Addis Skatepark


Ethiopia is one of the most populated countries in Africa, it borders with Somalia, Sudan, Kenia, Eritrea, and Yibuti; it’s an ancestral place for humanity, and now there are skateboarding communities expanding into it's different areas.

Madars starts in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa as the first place of this story. In 2016 Skate Life participated in the Addis Skatepark construction, collaborating with more than 60 volunteers from more than 20 countries to finish an important mission: To increase the skaters in the area and to give the new generations the chance to enjoy it.

Henok, Babu G, Ruel, Yeabkal, Michael, Yared, JT and Sean from the USA are Ethiopia’s crew and they showed Mad how everything is going on since the community started to expand in 2012. Ethiopia’s crew starts skating every Sunday in a parking lot and with almost nothing they made their shared moments special.

As Michael said, after Addis Park, Ethiopia turned into a skateboarding promoter who helps others in the same spirit to continue sharing this sport and the culture with everyone around the country. “It’s better right now and I’m happy about it”, Yeabkal said.


Hawassa Skatepark


In 2017 Ethiopia’s crew together with an international team got to build the Hawassa Skatepark located at the Alemura Youth Center in Awassa city, located 180 km from Addis Ababa. JT received a call to build a skatepark in this place and accepted the call to bring his team there and build it.

With more than fifteen volunteers they got to create the skatepark in fifteen days “we had no real idea of what we were building, but we came together and collaborated to make it happen, and built whatever we could for the kids to skate” JT said.

He also says that there is a lot of talent, but unfortunately nobody sees it, there’s no magazines or anything like that, also they don’t see kids with the chance to get a skateboard in good condition. They feel good about the opportunity to help them with the fundamental elements to skate because they don’t have access to it, and as Sean says, the recipient community are grateful and happy.

There is a big Rastafarian community in Awassa, to Ethiopia’s people their lands are a gift from Haile Selassie I, who gave them the opportunity to come back to stay in their land. They’re grateful and as Ma'an says, “he wasn’t just a king, he was also a father” she emphasizes that thanks to him every African can now be there.

The documentary shows the reaction of people who didn't know anything about this sport, reactions full of joyfulness and good vibes; most of them were maybe too old to understand it or too young to even have seen it before, but it’s a fact that where you go with your skateboard, you're always going to have an audience and people will send good vibes your way, just for you to get the trick.


Ethiopia’s crew is a collaborative work


To JT, there’s no opportunity to any skater there or places to buy a board, that’s why this crew is so important for the community to keep the skate culture alive. People like Yeabkal share the real essence of skateboarding in his art with old decks, he also said that everyone there now have access all of these important elements to be able to skate.

For Michael skateboarding means to share with others, to share in good emotions. And if you are really passionate about it you will make a collaborative crew concentrated on the same goal.

The crew learned about the skate knowledge of Tino on how to make a deck, they bought wood and started to make it. Three hours later and with some help from Tino, they went to the streets, and started to skate using the rail as a complement of the new small ramp to combine the tricks.

We can see how skateboarding cheer up a lot of people just by seeing it, and how you are always going to find a place to skate and share with your closest friends or meet other skaters.

Skateboarding culture is not about your clothes, your thoughts or what you agree about or not; skateboarding is about helping each other, sharing a board, teaching others to improve themselves and find their own style, no matter where you are, you're always going to be able to share it with someone who has the same passion, or just entertain someone else while you enjoy yourself on the board.

Thank you guys for this awesome documentary, we really appreciated it and suggest that everyone should watch it!


Read also: Building The First Skatepark In Syria

Read also: Pros Take Skateboarding to Indigenous Youth

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