Africa

In pictures: Ethiopia's skateboarders 'go legit'

Ethiopia's young skateboarders, who find it hard to get spots to practise, are about to get a huge boost with the opening of the country's first skatepark, says the BBC's Roderick Macleod.

Image caption Until now, skateboarders in the capital, Addis Ababa, have had to compete with footballers for space to practise their kick-flips and grinds, using any open piece of concrete they can find.
Image caption But despite the lack of proper facilities, Ethiopia Skate, the collective formed by the city's skateboarding enthusiasts, now has about 150 members.
Image caption "It's the closest thing we have to flying," says 25-year-old doctor Michael Baheru, who considers skateboarding an "expression of freedom".
Image caption Most of the equipment members use has been donated from abroad, or is purchased and imported by the collective.
Image caption Ethiopia Skate wants to get as many young people involved in the sport as possible .
Image caption The skaters are always on the lookout for the city's best undiscovered spots, which often happen to be on private property...
Image caption Though that does not necessarily stop them...
Image caption Much to the frustration of local security guards who are supposed to be keeping them out.
Image caption But now, thanks to a global crowdfunding campaign, more than $35,000 (£24,600) has been raised to help build Ethiopia's first purpose-built skatepark.
Image caption Non-governmental organisation Make Life Skate, which has built similar parks in India, Bolivia, Jordan, and Myanmar, is contributing expertise as well as funding the project.
Image caption More than 50 volunteer skatepark builders from outside Ethiopia have been working with locals for the past few weeks.
Image caption During the construction, local youth involved in the project have been learning skills like carpentry, welding and cement mixing.
Image caption Skateboarders of all ages will be able to borrow equipment for free once the new park opens on Saturday.

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