Following the recent success in Peru, Concrete Jungle Foundation is now focused on its next full-scale international project, which will take place in Luanda, Angola. Answering local calls from the Angolan Skateboarding Union (ASU), the Luanda Skatepark Project will involve three major undertakings:
In addition to the ASU, we are working in partnership with New Line Skateparks, The Skateroom and Donate for Skate to make this project a reality. Moreover, 5-10 professional builders working on a voluntary basis are expected to take part in the construction of the skatepark. As of October 2018:
After three decades of civil war, Angola today has a life expectancy of 52.4 years, a median age of 16.1 years and deep-rooted inequality. Despite this, or perhaps due to it, the country has in recent years become a breeding ground for skateboarding, especially in the capital city of Luanda.
Currently, there are no designated areas for skateboarding in the whole country, let alone in Luanda. With a national population of 29 million, the Angola Skateboarding Union (ASU) has been seeking government support for the construction of a community skatepark for years, but so far without success.
Jesse Mendes, President of ASU, reached out to CJF in 2017. The initial information on the local skate scene gave an account of skateboarders being harassed, threatened with arrest and confined to practicing in dangerous areas of the city. With no skateshop in the country either, the ASU also highlighted the severe lack of access to skateboarding equipment.
After assessing their wishes, the socio-economic environment in Angola, as well as the logistics of the proposal, CJF took up the Luanda Skatepark as our next full-scale international project.
The skatepark will be built on an already flat and open space of 700m² at Campo Polivalente Vila Estoril, a youth recreation complex located in the residential district of Bella, Luanda. The concrete-coated field was built in 2008 by the Provincial Governor of Luanda to serve as a safe space for youth to congregate and enjoy sports and recreational activities, helping them steer away from drugs and crime as well as keeping them from hazardously playing in the streets.
Permission for the skatepark to be built on the site has been granted and formalized by signed contract between the ASU and the local municipality.
The specific location of the youth recreation centre is:
Barrio Golfe 2 Vila Estoril,
Municipality of Bella,
Province of Luanda
Angola’s first skatepark will be free and accessible to the whole skate community of Luanda and the wider country as well. Currently ASU officially has 80+ skateboarders registered in Luanda, and membership is increasing continuously.
Besides the organic increase of skateboarding’s popularity in Angola, ASU actively works to promote participation in the skateboarding community as well. Even while lacking a skatepark, ASU have and continue to organise skateboarding events and competitions, and have even managed to find sponsors to send winners of these events to international competitions such as the African Skateboarding Championships and Ultimate X in South Africa. These continuous endeavours reflect a solid local skateboarding community and will undoubtedly result in further increasing the number of Angolan skateboarders in need of a designated area to skate.
The beneficiaries of Angola’s first skatepark will not exclusively be those already skateboarding. With an estimated 150+ children and young adults already making daily use of the Campo Polivalente Vila Estoril, a skatepark and associated skateboarding programme at the youth recreation complex is the ideal location for the Luanda Skatepark. With a pre-existing group of daily visitors 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.
Throughout the growth of our organisation we have gathered a wealth of pedagogical expertise and pride ourselves on providing not only infrastructure and equipment but also a unique skateboarding program for our beneficiaries.
While solely the construction of skateparks undoubtedly has the potential to create positive change amongst marginalized communities, it is CJF’s firm belief that an effective skateboarding programme significantly increases the extent to which our project can help foster positive social and personal development for underprivileged local youth.
Our Programme Director Tim (M.A. in Childhood Education and Socialisation, Utrecht University) is 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 curriculum is led by an autonomy-supportive teaching style that effectively but unobtrusively promotes life-skills such as autonomy, competence and relatedness in the social world.