Zulu skate camp
A skate park in a small Zulu village? Why not?
When South African skateboarder Dallas Oberholzer saw the promise and excitement around the recent Maloof Money Cup skateboarding event in Kimberley, he knew his crazy idea to tie skateboarding to South Africa’s unique culture was spot on.
The village of Isithumba in the Valley of a Thousand Hills, not far from Durban, has great potential. It has natural tourism assets and friendly people, the Umgeni River flows past it, and it is surrounded by beautiful forests. So there, near the middle of the village, Oberholzer obtained permission to build Indigo Skate Camp, with a mini-ramp, half-pipe and kidney bowl.
You can also wander off for a walk with Nguni cows, or mountain bike, or go quad-biking, or hike.
It’s a win-win scenario. The local people are now used to skate culture amid their own traditions and are happy to juxtapose the two. About 40 people in the village are earning generous stipends to host and feed visitors. And, of course, skateboarders are exposed to an extraordinarily vivid experience: life beyond the half-pipe.
About 50 children from the village are learning to skate, and their daily lessons are bracketed by life-skills learning and exposure to books, music, dance and storytelling.
About 50 children from the village are learning to skate, and their daily lessons are bracketed by life-skills learning and exposure to books, music, dance and storytelling
Oberholzer holds skate camps, and youngsters between 9 and 18 years of age can come here for a few days. The next skate camp at Isithumba starts on 10 December this year.
This year, says Oberholzer, there’ll be a qualified wilderness guide too, and an emphasis on survival training and exposure to the fascinating Zulu culture.
He and other adult skateboarders will also take the youngsters to experience skate parks in Durban and Pietermaritzburg, neither of which are that far away.
And Oberholzer himself has discovered a whole new talent – building skate parks in small towns and villages around the country, and creating tourism assets that might not have existed if it hadn’t been for impetus from the Maloof Money Cup.
Skateboarders, watch this space ...
Category: Responsible Tourism