Angola's First Skatepark
Following our success in Jordan, Zaatari Radio was invited to partner with Concrete Jungle Foundation and Angolan Skateboarding Union to help build Angola's first skatepark and Edu-Skate Program.
In November 2018 two Zaatari Radio members travelled to Angola to help construct the country’s very first skatepark in the capital city of Luanda alongside an international team assembled by Concrete Jungle Foundation and over 50 local volunteers
Once the 750m² skatepark was completed, an Edu-Skate Program was implemented that focuses on empowerment and teaching life-skills to young adults in the area
Project Background: Angola and Skateboarding
After three decades of civil war, Angola today has a life expectancy of 52.4 years, a median age of 16.1 years and is a country experiencing deep-rooted inequality and corruption. Despite this, the country has in recent years become a breeding ground for skateboarding, especially in the capital city of Luanda.
Spearheaded by the Angolan Skateboarding Union- after constant reports of harassment, threats and arrest -the Angolan Skateboarding Union brokered a deal with the Municipality of Luanda to build Angola’s first ever skatepark alongside Concrete Jungle Foundation.
After 12 months of coordinating, fundraising and planning, a dozen international volunteers including Zaatari Radio members, and 50 local skaters joined forces between November-December 2018 to build Angola’s first skatepark. The 750 m² community skatepark took five weeks to complete, and is located at Campo Polivalente; a public recreation complex located in the district of Golfe 2, Luanda.
The Edu-Skate Program
Concrete Jungle Foundation curated an Edu-Skate Program to accompany Angola’s first skatepark, specifically designed to respond to the needs of underprivileged young adults living in Luanda. Leveraging pedagogical expertise and years of teaching experience, the program is developed to focus on teaching life-skills and empowerment through skateboarding. Classes run 4 days a week from the skatepark, an attendees of the program are often street children or travel from children shelters. The running and teaching of the Edu-Skate Program is managed by Angolan Skateboarding Union (ASU). In teaching the members of the organisation how to run these classes, Concrete Jungle Foundation have created influential community leaders who support positive growth within their society through teaching skateboarding.
During the construction of the skatepark, seminars were hosted detailing the profound impact the skatepark can have for personal and community development, how to teach skateboarding and how to teach life-skills through skateboarding. The goal of these seminars was to recruit excited and motivated individuals to teach the Edu-Skate Programme after the skatepark’s construction. During opening day of the skatepark, children were provided the opportunity to sign up the Program, which filled out almost instantly. The start of the Program began in January 2019 under CJF’s coordination: 4 days per week an Edu-skate lesson is given at the skatepark by local teachers to the local children free of charge. During the weekend open sessions open for all students of the classes are hosted to repeat and stimulate their development in skateboard- and life-skills even further.
Cultural and Artistic Infrastructure and War-Affected Communities: Skateparks and Radio
Being offered the chance to be involved with Angola's first skatepark was an opportunity we could not turn down; its a project held close to our hearts and presents a project with underlying themes that run in conjunction with the key ethos of Zaatari Radio. We represent a humanitarian collective working to empower war-affected communities, dedicated to designing and building artistic and cultural infrastructure to facilitate social development and empowerment. Working with Concrete Jungle Foundation presented a new project in which we can work towards this goal in building a skatepark and implement a skateboarding programme, and we look forward to working with such an innovative organisation in the future.
Our previous experience in establishing Zaatari Radio in Jordan and volunteering at 7Hills Skatepark has demonstrated how both these cultural sites have become institutions for artistic endeavour, providing community-hubs for all demographics living in Jordan. Our work in Zaatari Village demonstrated the empowering nature of owning the airwaves, broadcasting your own voice in a situation whereby outside news sources often tell the story for you. Whilst aiding the skate programme at 7Hills Skatepark we witnessed the empowering nature of skateboarding in Amman, promoting social development and ownership of a city in which public spaces are few and far between. Angola's first skatepark can provide a cultural space in which these experiences can happen simultaneously, creating an community-hub in which the social ties created there can foster innovation across skateboarding, radio and beyond.