Skate to Recovery
The region has been negatively affected by two civil wars since Sudanese independence from 1955 to 1972.
As a result, the country suffered serious neglect, a lack of infrastructural development, and major destruction and displacement. More than 2.5 million people have been killed, and millions more have become refugees both within and outside the country.
On 9 July 2011, South Sudan became the 54th independent country in Africa.
In December 2013, a political power struggle broke out between President Kiir and his former deputy Riek Machar.
Fighting broke out, igniting the South Sudanese Civil War until Salva Kiir Mayardit and Riek Machar agreed to a peace deal on 20 February 2020.
About 400,000 people are estimated to have been killed, more than 4 million people have been displaced, with about 1.8 million of those internal displaced, and about 2.5 million having fled to neighboring countries, especially Uganda and Sudan.
One of them was Tite.
A skater with big hopes and dreams.
This is his story.
Tell us something about South Sudan people would not know.
South Sudan have been suffering from the effect of the war more then 38 years after peace in 2005 a civil war in 2013 up to 2016.
There were ethnic violence, civil war, human rights abuse etc. from 2013 to Feb 2020. Not surprisingly South Sudan ranked third lowest in the UN World Happiness Report dated 2019. How did you personally cope with all that has been happening for all these years?
We been affected by civil war between Newair and Denga until now there is no peace. Therefore, no development. This is why I am asking for your assistance. It affected me because I was in Uganda attending my school and affected my family.
Did your family move to Uganda because of the war?
Yes because many people lost their family and kids also were displaced from their homes.
Why did you and your family go back to South Sudan?
In 2019 my mother passed away. My brother moved back in South Sudan. After I had finished my college, I got a lot of encouragement from my friends in Uganda to open a skatepark in South Sudan. Here I am currently working on it.
‘We lived a great life. I studied in school, learned Hebrew, read, write. Met people with beautiful souls. In 2011 South Sudan got the independence from Sudan. In 2012 the Israeli government announced to deported South Sudan back to their land because of independence.’
South Sudan has a population of 12 million, mostly of the Nilotic peoples, and it is demographically among the youngest nations in the world, with roughly half under 18 years old. What are some of the positive aspects of having such a young population?
Positive aspects is that we are still a young nation and there is room for improvement also the Junubing people are hard-working people, and they are ready to develop their country.
Tell us something about yourself?
My name is Tite simple and quite guy, love to smile. I am born in Khartoum, Sudan in 1995. I have 3 brothers and I’m second to my elder brother. I was raised by single mother. Our father, my mother told us, is an army fighter and never made it back home. I have never met him. We moved to Egypt in 1999. After we heard our father still in bushes fighting (died), my mother decided we leave Sudan to Egypt for better life and 2004-2005 the Egypt treading South Sudanese refugees so bad, killing and stealing their organs. My brother and mother heard that there is a way out. So, we left for Israel in 2006. We lived a great life. I studied in school, learned Hebrew, read, write. Met people with beautiful souls. In 2011 South Sudan got the independence from Sudan. In 2012 the Israeli government announced to deported South Sudan back to their land because of independence.
When did the skateboard scene in South Sudan start?
It was last year 2020. That is when everybody wanted to know about skateboarding.
How big is the current skateboard community?
Our skateboard community we skate street we are around 14 and we are growing faster with the number of youth.
Where do you meet your friends to go skateboarding? Where are some of the places you go and skate?
I tell them where they can find me and it’s on newside public road street. Every day I skateboard except Sunday I don’t.
How do you get access to boards, trucks, wheels etc?
I just have one skateboard and the trucks, wheels etc. nowhere here I can buy or even get them from shop.
How did you get your skateboard?
This was when I was as refugees in Israel in 2006. There where i started to know skateboarding. In 2012 after South Sudan got the independence in 2011, the Israeli government announced that all the south Sudanese will be deported back to they are country. After war in 2014 I moved to Kampla, Uganda as refugees. Started new life new School and when I went to high school and college. I met people that knew and love skateboarding.
‘Our skateboard community we skate street we are around 14 and we are growing faster with the number of youth.’
You started a gofundme page for a skatepark? Do you already have an idea about the location, who will build it and how much it will cost?
I am here working with ministry of youth and sports we have a location in Juba. However we have no funding because all goes to soccer as the most popular spot. Other sports like skating need international funding. We have already created account in Gofundme but we haven’t yet received any donations. Now with all costing materials with everything can reach $15,000 and so far have 3 friends who can volunteer to help with building the skatepark.
Do you have any support from organisations that help building skateparks (e.g. Skateistan, Make Life Skate Life)?
At the moment there is nothing. I talked to many people and shared with them life in South Sudan, my pictures, my story but most of them did not respond to my email.
How can people outside South Sudan support you?
By donating skateboards, trucks, helmets, skate gears but mostly financially associate of skating.
‘At the moment there is nothing. I talked to many people
and shared with them life in South Sudan, my pictures,
my story but most of them did not respond to my email.’
What are some of the challenges skateboarding in South Sudan faces today?
There is no community for skating so the challenge is to make skatepark with the community.
What are some of the challenges people in general face in South Sudan today?
Insecurity because of the war and unemployment but mostly tribalism from the 64 tribes.
Last question: If you could interview a person, who would it be and why?
The president Salva Kiir because why he is only supporting soccer and no other sports. There is our community that plays other sports including skateboarding.