Angola's First Skatepark

Following our success in Jordan, Zaatari Radio has been invited to partner with Concrete Jungle Foundation and Angolan Skateboarding Union to help build Angola's first skatepark, featuring an online radio station onsite. The project will be facilitated in two stages:

  • Initially travelling to Angola to construct the country’s very first skatepark in the capital city of Luanda, providing the necessary equipment to the community, and implementing a skateboarding programme for the youth in the area

  • Working to establish onsite Angola’s first ever online radio station curated specifically to nurture underground music in Luanda and beyond, creating a community space focused on fostering creative arts and social development

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Project Background: Angola, Skateboarding and Radio

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, or perhaps due to it, the country has in recent years become a breeding ground for skateboarding and electronic music, 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 with plans to feature a space for an online radio station. Mirroring the coexistence of underground music and skateboarding culture across the world, the skateboarding scene of Angola features links to artists of the Angolan dance genre Kuduro: an electronically produced 4/4 beat sampling carnival music from the Caribbean and South America matched with the more traditional sounds of Angolian Semba. Kudro legends include Noite e Dia, Nacobeta, Bruno M, DJ Znobia, Big Nelo, as well as Kuduro tracks getting airtime from DJs such as Louis Vega and Gilles Peterson. In a recent Mixmag documentary, Kuduro is described as the very sould of Angola; a way of thinking where by “people are able to take away the differences they have from one another and get together for a show.”

This perfectly encapsulates the ethos behind Angola's first ever skatepark: to create a community space which connects people from skateboarding, music and beyond, to share and celebrate a thriving artistic community in Angola. 

 

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The Luanda Skatepark

As of June 2018, all preparatory agreements necessary for the building of the Luanda Skatepark are secured and granted through a signed contract between the Angolan Skateboarding Union and Luanda Municipality. Similarly, the final design by professional park designers New Line Skateparks has been formally accepted and is ready for construction. The complex will built onsite of a local youth club, making it the ideal location to attract young people to the skateboarding programme and radio schedule. The address of the youth centre is:

Campo Polivalente Vila Estoril Youth Club
Barrio Golfe 2 Vila Estoril,
Municipality of Bella,
Province of Luanda
Angola

Angola’s first skatepark will be free and accessible to the whole community of Luanda and the wider country as well, and will not be exclusive to those already skateboarding. With an estimated 150+ children and young adults already making daily use of the Campo Polivalente Vila Estoril, a skatepark with associated skateboarding programme and online radio station is the ideal location for the Luanda Skatepark Complex. With a pre-existing group of daily visitors including skateboarders and musicians, the Luanda Skatepark Project being completed in this space has great potential to stimulate positive personal and social development for a significant number of underprivileged youth in the area.

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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 presents a new project in which we can work towards this goal in building a skatepark, implementing a skateboarding programme, and creating an online radio station onsite. 

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. 

The Skateboarding Programme has been designed by the Concrete Jungle Foundation’s Programme Director Tim (M.A. in Childhood Education and Socialisation, Utrecht University), a life-long skateboarder and a specialist in "using skateboarding as a tool for positive development for youth." His innovative curriculum has been developed and fine-tuned over the course of his studies as well as through years of teaching skateboarding in the Netherlands, Palestine, and Peru. Informed by self-determination theory, the Skateboarding Programme is led by an autonomy-supportive teaching style that effectively but unobtrusively promotes life-skills such as autonomy, competence and relatedness within the social world.