Residents buzz with skate park excitement

A youngster from Hangberg skating in the middle of the road.

Excitement was in the air at the first Eyethu skate park public meeting, held on Wednesday August 31, at Suikerbossie restaurant.

Community members, local skateboarders and members of the Eyethu team expressed their excitement as they discussed the endless benefits the park will have for the community.

The Eyethu team are a group of volunteers working on the skate park project.

Through the hard work of the Rotary Club of Hout Bay and the Eyethu team, the dream of having an integrated space in the form of a skate park where all youngsters from the various communities in Hout Bay can come together and be united through various sports activities, has become a reality.

But before construction can begin, the Rotary Club of Hout Bay is tasked to raise R1.8 million for the project.

The land, situated next to the sports fields opposite the Hout Bay police station, was made available by the City of Cape Town and the deal was sealed in February this year after the final documents were signed with the City’s sport, recreation and amenities department (“Setting a date to skate,” Sentinel March 4,).

Indigo Youth Movement, which introduces young people to skateboarding and helps create opportunities to increase life skills and self confidence, will be involved in building the skate park.

The NGO’s director and founder Dallas Oberholzer has lived in Hout Bay for the past two years and has built seven skate parks in the past eight years across the country.

He said Indigo Youth Movement has had great successes with its programmes running in rural KZN and on the Cape Flats. He said there was no question that the skate park would bring the community together.

“It’s very overdue for the skate culture of Hout Bay, as this lifestyle is so prominent within Hout Bay that I feel its a great opportunity for the more experienced board riders of Hout Bay to share in their tradition and language of stoke and in so doing make connections across the fence of Imizamo Yethu and into Hangberg,” he said.

Park designer Lawden Holmes addressed the more technical aspects of the park like maintenance, facilities and safety.

Hout Bay resident Matthew Johnson said he has been skateboarding on the streets of Hout Bay for the past 14 years and often sees children endangering their lives on makeshift skateboards.

He said the park will not only provide a safe place for the children to skate but will also unify Hout Bay and change it for the better.

Wonga Mzi Lucas and Gladdz Matshaya, Imizamo Yethu residents and founders of IY Skate, an informal initiative that encourages skateboarding in the area, also addressed the community.

Mr Lucas said it is amazing how skateboarding has united the children from “uptown” Imizamo Yethu and “downtown” Imizamo Yethu.

He said youngsters from up and downtown seldom socialise except when it comes to skateboarding.

“Skateboarding gels children and they forget about their differences,” he said.

Mr Matshaya said skateboarding was a saving grace in Imizamo Yethu at a time when gangsterism was rife and many young lives were affected.

Sulaiman Wyngaard, a Hangberg skateboarder, was all smiles when he spoke about the new skate park.

He said he is living testimony to how skateboarding can positively impact on the lives of young people and unite them. He said the benefits of the park to the community are endless.

Eyethu marketing and communications volunteer, Vicki Scheffel said there are many ways the community of Hout Bay can get involved in the fundraising process such as spreading the word on social media sites, becoming an ambassador for the skate park by sharing ideas, becoming a donor, hosting a fundraising or becoming a volunteer.

For more information about the project visit www.eyethuskatepark.org.za or like the Facebook page Eyethu Hout Bay Skatepark or join in the conversations on Twitter: @eyethu_houtbay_skatepark