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.

skateboarder pictured mid-flip
Image captionUntil 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.
group shot of boys walking away holding skateboards
Image captionBut despite the lack of proper facilities, Ethiopia Skate, the collective formed by the city’s skateboarding enthusiasts, now has about 150 members.
Michael Baheru
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”.
Green skateboard with
Image captionMost of the equipment members use has been donated from abroad, or is purchased and imported by the collective.
young boy runs with skateboard in his hand
Image captionEthiopia Skate wants to get as many young people involved in the sport as possible .
Boys peer through gate of skatepark
Image captionThe skaters are always on the lookout for the city’s best undiscovered spots, which often happen to be on private property…
Young skateboarder peeps over a fence to see if he can gain access to a good spot
Image captionThough that does not necessarily stop them…
three boys skateboard away with a security guard in pursuit
Image captionMuch to the frustration of local security guards who are supposed to be keeping them out.
Ethiopian boy pours concrete to make a ramp while four others look on
Image captionBut 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.
young children look on from outside the skatepark fence at the construction going on
Image captionNon-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.
Topless volunteer adds finishing touches to one of the skate park's features
Image captionMore than 50 volunteer skatepark builders from outside Ethiopia have been working with locals for the past few weeks.
Young ethiopians get involved in the building project
Image captionDuring the construction, local youth involved in the project have been learning skills like carpentry, welding and cement mixing.
skateboarders take a break sitting on some concrete breeze blocks
Image captionSkateboarders of all ages will be able to borrow equipment for free once the new park opens on Saturday.

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