Antony Mwangi Kihugu
‘The scene is quite substantial, it’s been going on for I like 15 years now, we got the OGs still pushing it and I see a new skater every session these days.’
Can you tell us something about Kenya people don’t know?
We have our own language called sheng (laughing) it’s a mixture of Swahili, English and vernacular languages too. It is very stylish, expressive and easy to use and learn.
Tell us something about yourself?
I’m a skateboarder. That’s all. (Laughing) Anyway my real name is Antony mwangi kihugu, a skateboarder and an artist from Nairobi Kenya. I’ve been skateboarding for around 7 years now. I picked it up from a highschool friend, Karichu and ever since I’ve never stepped my feet off. Unless there’s a sprained ankle. I loved not only how physical it is but also mental and creative. It is through it that I rediscovered painting. I think it brought me back to myself honestly. I always felt misunderstood because the small village I am from has never been exposed to skateboarding but I’ve developed through the years and learned to give them love anyway. You can reach me on my instagram @antony_create and check more of my artworks on my Instagram art page @the_mute_post .
How big is the current skateboard community in Kenya?
The scene is quite substantial, its been going on for I like 15 years now, we got the OGs still pushing it and I see a new skater every session these days. But we’re still a closely knit community.
Is there much skateboarding outside Nairobi?
Not that big, there’s small scenes outside the city. Dude’s like manu(@iptuice), who is really good by the way are ripping and spreading the ripples around Nakuru county. I dream of touring around with them just to skate and spread the vibes.
On your IG you collect money for Kenya’s first skatepark. I thought there is already one called ‘Shangilia Skate Park’ which is the biggest in East Africa.
Yes there’s a skatepark but its private and not so central. Some of us go there often regardless. The money being raised was to build a space to skate that is public and central to most people. I don’t know enough about how the collection process is going so far so I can’t talk about it that much.
What are some of the best street skate spots in Nairobi?
Since we lost Uhuru park it has given us a chance to explore the streets more and there’s mad spots scattered around the city. Nairobi is a pole jam city also. There’s also all sizes of stair sets, harbour, rails and nice curbs at the university of Nairobi that are accessible and these days the guards have been easy. We had to jump the fence before. Zamani is working on a collaboration with Jacques, a super creative skateboarder from South Africa who is always here with us. You guys will get to see all the pole jams and cool skate spots in town.
‘Uhuru park has been an iconic spot for Kenyan skateboarders for over 20 years. The government have been undertaking “renovations” and have destroyed the platforms/the gap etc. Sad times but there’s no doubt we’ll be skating/filming there regardless.’
Who are some of the talented local skaters at the moment?
Honestly everyone now is really sick. They are also very diverse and no one skates like the other. We have a bunch of kids @office_addicts who are ripping. We have @thekeedz who are really good. Shout out to vinny with the manuals, RG the goon, Deno, Frank, Elijah and everybody killing it now. Most important, respect to the OGs; Leo(@arap_wiz), kassy, Vick murage, DC, kevo, zuko(chairman @skateboarding_society_of_kenya) and the rest who we are lucky to still have around. They’ve taught us everything we need.
What are some of the challenges skateboarding in Kenia faces today?
Mostly its lack of proper skateboarding products like decks and stuff since we depend on people who import. Also lack of a proper practising spaces especially for people who are beginning. Good thing with skateboarding is that it can be enjoyed anywhere and you can progress with what you have around you.
What are some of the challenges people in general face in Kenia today?
There’s mad corruption which causes unequal distribution of resources in the country. I don’t even follow the politics here because its such a joke. Also the police have been oppressing the youth so much and treating us like enemies. Its so sad.
Last question: If you could interview a person, who would it be and why?
Wah, anyone with a dream. I don’t know, because it feels like such a crazy ride not having to follow the script that was written for you.
‘There’s mad corruption which causes unequal distribution of resources in the country. I don’t even follow the politics here because its such a joke.’