Ethiopia Skate was co-founded by photographer Sean Stromsoe and skater Abenezer Temesgen. The skateboarding passion embodied by the group, however, is spreading beyond the city walls.
By Nosmot Gbadamosi (CNN) |
When you think about skate culture, Ethiopia may not be the first country that comes to mind. And yet the capital, Addis Ababa, is swiftly becoming a center for Africa’s skateboarding scene.
Thanks to an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign by local collective Ethiopia Skate, Addis Ababa recently built its first skate park. The collective boasts more than 150 members and organizers hope the park will train the next generation of X-Games champions.
“There are kids doing better stunts,” says Ethiopia Skate member Yared Aya. “They are not afraid and now hopefully we are getting the message out there: it will happen.”
The park and its partner Make Life Skate Life raised $35,000 and saw 60 volunteers across 20 countries fly in to help make the dream a reality.
“It’s still hard to believe, people came in from every continent to help us build this skate park,” says Aya. “I think it shows the passion that people have for the sport.”
Prior to the park’s completion in April, local skaters risked their lives in a vacant parking lot in Sarbet, where taxi drivers, soccer players and street bullies competed for space.
Ethiopia Skate was co-founded by American photographer Sean Stromsoe and local skater Abenezer Temesgen. The passion embodied by the group, however, is spreading beyond the city walls.
Ethiopian cities Bahir Dar and Awassa also have skate collectives, thanks in part to smooth roads which locals say are perfect for indy grabs.
“It’s something that nobody can understand, but when you are skating, you forget all your problems,” says Nathan Eyasu, who has been skating on Addis Ababa’s roads for six years.
“It’s like a drug.”
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