So, ladies and gentlemen, if you have not already had the pleasure then allow us to introduce you to George Zuko – a candidate for raddest human in the world today. As with Sandy Alibo in Ghana, George has been a talismanic figure in the development of skateboard culture here in Kenya.
How about this: George is a skater who helps run skate camps at an educational orphanage where the country’s first skatepark resides. Think about that for a moment. Children sleeping on the streets are by no means uncommon in Nairobi, and George introduced us to two young rippers who once slept right by the local skate spot – and started skating as a result. With George’s introduction of skating into their lives, The Keedz (‘the pair’) are off the streets, enrolled in school, and ripping.
Samuel Mwangi and Ezra Nyongesa – everyone calls him Balo, though – proved constant companions for Jaakko Ojanen, Chenai Gwandure, Yann Horowitz and Jackson Pilz as our joy bus spent a week rolling around with the skate scene of Nairobi. Sam even shot Balo’s front board photo from this feature on his first try with a camera. Fast learner!
The Shangilia association which runs the educational orphanage space where the radiant skatepark resides work with hundreds of such children every day. Watch Patrik Wallner’s superb documentary on Jaakko and friends’ skate mission with the local rippers of Nairobi above.