The Luanda Skatepark is a 750 m² community skatepark located in the Golfe 2 district of Luanda, Angola. The grassroots project was conceived and realized in partnership with Angola Skateboarding Union (ASU) and New Line Skateparks.
A dozen international and 50 local volunteers took part in the build in November-December 2018. Equipment and support were generously provided by The Skateroom, Donate for Skate and Skateboards for Hope.
Today ASU manages the skatepark and supports underprivileged local youth through CJF’s Edu-Skate Programme.
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. Prior to the Luanda Skatepark Project there were 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) had been seeking government support for the construction of a community skatepark for years, but without success.
Jesse Mendes, President of ASU, reached out to CJF in 2017. The initial information gave an account of skateboarders being harassed, threatened with arrest and confined to practicing in dangerous areas of the city. With no skate shop in the country either, ASU also highlighted the severe lack of access to skateboarding equipment. Could we help?
After assessing their wishes, the socio-economic environment in Angola, and the logistics of the proposal, CJF took up the Luanda Skatepark as its next full-scale international project in November 2017.
After 12 months of coordinating, fundraising and planning, a dozen international volunteers and 50 local skaters finally joined forces in November-December 2018 to build Angola’s first skatepark. The 750 m² community skatepark took five weeks to complete. It is located at Campo Polivalente, a public recreation complex located in the district of Golfe 2, Luanda.
Pictures by Ayden Stoefen
To prepare them for their management of the Edu-skate programme at the skatepark, the 3 months leading up to the construction of the Luanda Skatepark, 3 local skateboarders from ASU started teaching the programme in the local youth shelter CACAJ. With little activities and stimulation for the former street children in CACAJ, the skate-classes were welcomed with open arms: weekly classes served around 40 of the children with life-skill lessons through the fun of skateboarding.
During the construction of the skatepark, every week ended with a seminar on the potential of 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. The seminars were surprisingly well attended, resulting in a motivated team of 10 teachers: before CJF left Angola, 10 local skateboarders signed a contract to teach Edu-skate for the first semester of 3 months.
The much anticipated start of the programme 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.
With its reach of around 50 different students every 3 months, Edu-skate is looking to introduce skateboarding and promoting personal development to 200 children in Angola the first year of its implementation. With the programme at the CACAJ youth shelter starting up again soon and possibilities to run the programme in other youth shelters as well, it also aims to reach the most vulnerable children of Angola with an opportunity to work on personal development through a fun activity.