Nyanga is one of the most dangerous townships in the country. It leads the country in number of murders per capita. But Nyanga youth are trying to change the image their township.
A project called Nyanga Yethu together with Safety Lab is keeping the youth of Nyanga together on weekends and in holidays.
Lerato Qhena of Nyanga Yethu said, “We started with the project in 2012 when we first played movies in the theatre of Zolani Centre at night. We wanted the youth to be here at night rather than being on the streets.”
Qhena said, “Young adults would not come at all. We then introduced it to young children who came in huge numbers which meant we must introduce other activities, because the theatre could not take the numbers.”
The activities that have been introduced include sports such as street soccer, boxing, roller blading and skateboarding.
In most townships skateboarding is considered a sport for white people. You hardly see people with skateboards let alone skateboards parks.
Theo Poswayo who is training young children how to skate in the Nyanga Yethu project said, “We are trying to change the perception that skateboarding is for white people. I would like to see the sport all over Nyanga. We are slowly getting there because when I walk around the township I see people taking out their old skateboards.”
Like most sports in townships they face their fair share of challenges. Poswayo adds that they don’t have enough space because they are sharing with other sporting codes. He said, “We used to skate outside, but it was not safe for the children because they would get mugged.” The children appear to be enjoying themselves even though the surface they are playing on is unsuitable for skateboarding.
Isenathi Ligwa, 12, said, “I started skating this year after seeing my brother doing it. He then brought me here, I fell in love with skating.”
Mpumelelo Sheshegu, 14, said, “I started skating in 2012 when a friend of mine introduced me to it. It is not a popular sport in our community and I want to show that black people can do it as well.”
Sheshegu added, “My mom supports me because she bought me my first skateboard.” But, he continues, his mother also told him that he must always be careful when skating.
Source : GroundUp