In Uganda, nobody knows about skateboarding as soon as we leave the slum area of Kitintale. Thirty years after its worldwide expansions, the skateboarding culture appeared in Uganda. As a skateboarder myself, I started to document the birth of this subculture since the early beginning and will follow its expansion, influenced by the Ugandan daily life context and African culture. For the last few years I have been going back to Uganda for two months every year to document the growing scene. This subculture grows every year and the idea of the project is to document the evolution in the next decade.
To make this possible and support the youngsters to develop their dream, I’m looking for funds to rebuild a halfpipe. Most of the money collected from publication was used to repair and reconstruct the skatepark in Uganda, but unfortunately this wasn’t sufficient. After the first publications of my series, their playground was near to become a zoo for the western media industry. We noticed that our publications brought more journalists instead of support. Unfortunately, people are interested to show their story but not to install a long term relationship. So, I also want to teach the skaters to record their history and involve them in the creative process (making short films and photos). The skaters need to learn how to deal with this kind of situation in order to be able to take advantage of it.
The interest for skateboarding has been increasing to the extent that the skatepark can not accommodate the needs of the skateboarders any more.
Two years ago, the ramp collapsed because of the rain and the poor quality of the material used. The first step in this project would therefore be to rebuild it, on 3m x 7m, so the youngsters can keep on practicing. To begin with, all the children will take part in the building of the ramp. This participatory approach worked well for building the skatepark. It triggered a strong feeling of belonging and caring for the infrastructure. Many youngsters are familiar with masonry, carpentry and all sorts of manual work. Through their participation, members will also develop manual skills that some of them will use in the future, when seeking for work. It will thus have not only a positive impact on the association, but also on each individual.
In 2010, we already removed the remaining of the broken ramp, dug and flattened the ground. Then stones, iron, wood and cement will be used to build the skeleton. It will then be filled in with stones and soil, before the final layer of cement and smooth paint is applied. Because the members have already built a ramp and the park, they have the knowledge and experience for the new one. Moreover, they have learned from the past and will increase its quality. The newer members will contribute as well to the construction, which will strengthen the bonds between the first members and the new members. Without a proper infrastructure, the Uganda Skateboard Union and its benefits are compelled to perish. It is therefore necessary, as a first step, to address this pressing issue.
Half of the budget will go towards rebuilding the halfpipe and half of it will cover the travel and photography costs for this trip.