Mosako recently sent us a mail submitting an image of a backside kickflip, performed by a young African ripper. While unfortunatly we couldn't find any use for it on the spot, it did make us realize how little we know about skateboarding in Africa, apart from trips to hotspots like Morrocco or South Africa. Mosako was kind enough to shed some light on skateboarding and the scene in Botswana, also providing us with the chance to show off some work by the up and coming photo & videographer.
My name is Mosako Chalashika, I’m from Gaborone, Botswana, and at the moment I am a freelance photographer and videographer.
I found skateboarding at a high school I used got to in Gaborone called “Maru-a-Pula”. It was through my longtime friend called Khotso Keebine, who I saw skateboarding for the time in my life. I never thought it actually exists in my reality because I would only see it on television.
When I started there wasn’t actually anyone I looked up to. I honestly just wanted to document the skateboarding in Botswana in a way that’s never been done before and for the skateboarding community in my hometown to get international recognition, which was a gap to be filled.
I mostly still shoot skating, I also shoot commercial stuff for clients and any thing that’s interesting in Gaborone.
I use a canon 700D, 50mm fixed lens, Samyang fish eye lens and a Hahnel external flash.
I don’t really have goals, just to progress and do the best I can. Do well for myself and to continue put my city on the map.
The skate scene in Botswana is big enough to literally fit in one parking lot. We are not really a big scene. The fact that we are only 2.3 million people in Botswana probably plays a big role in the numbers of the skate scene, but it’s not an excuse to stop us from growing.
Lack of facilities! I personally feel like all African countries with skate communities need professionally built concrete skate parks. I understand there is a handful of African countries that have skateparks like Ethiopia, South Africa, Angola, Morocco, Mozambique, Kenya, hopefully I’m not leaving any other country out. Zambia & Ghana are about to get theirs, which is dope. Hopefully us Botswana will get our first concrete skate park as early as this year and other countries that are lacking one.
We need to have skate shops that are easily accessible and affordable to the locals of the communities. It doesn’t even have to be a full-on physical skate shop. It can just be someone selling the gear from maybe his or her home or the car trunk. Just as long the locals have somewhere to easily get equipment
Us Africans also need to visit each other’s skate communities and it should a natural thing. The same way a skater from New York can travel all the way across to the other side of the states to California just to skate, the same concept should apply to Africa. Not to compare us to America haha, the distance from NY to LA seems further than going to Nigeria from Botswana.
More African filmers and photographers are needed on this continent to document their own skate communities. We shouldn’t wait for anyone outside to do it for us. Through the lens of a local the documentation of the skate scene will be more detailed and authentic and that’s something that can’t be duplicated. I feel like documentation is one of the most important things, because content lives forever and it contributes to the development.
It would be nice to see more African companies that sponsor local skateboarders so that also the African skate shops can stock more African skate brands more than overseas brands. Who knows? Maybe they will even turn their own riders pro and actually pay them and travel. That could be a step in the future after getting the basic needs out the way. We could even have our own skate magazine for the continent, we all come together and pile up some content from our different countries and ship them to the overseas countries that are not aware of the skate communities in Africa. You know what I mean?
Some Botswanians will clown you at first for riding a skateboard, because it’s something they’re not used to and there is a phrase they like to use in Setswana (our national language) “GASE MO STATES”. It means this is not the USA. The ones that use that phrase believe that since skateboarding is from the USA, we should leave it to them and stick to the usual things like football etc. But you will get the other percentage of Botswanians who are interested in skateboarding. The number one spot we go to in Gaborone is called “Main Mall”, it’s a parking lot. When we skate there, people usually come to watch us, approach us and try skate on one of our boards. There is even incidents when we would be cruising through the city and parents would stop us and ask us where they could buy skateboards for their children who are interested. This happens on the regular. More Botswanians are starting to accept skateboarding ever since it’s been introduced to the Olympics. I’m telling you, once we get that skate park in Gaborone you will see the numbers increasing rapidly.
The government hasn’t recognised us yet. It’s just the people that have shown interest. It will take time for the government to embrace it. But they will though.
The typical sessions over the weekend is at our common skate spot which is called “Main Mall’, a spaced out parking lot. Otherwise during the week we will skate street, because “Main Mall” will be filled with cars, because the parking lot belongs to a bank.
There is a homie called Sebastian Tidikwe. He has an online skate shop called “Posse Skate Shop” and he currently selling from his home or he can come to your doorstep to deliver to you. The Instagram handle to the store is @posseskateshop267 and on Facebook the page is Posse Skate Shop. So that’s where people are getting their goods.
Skating in Botswana is not really as well known as in a lot of countries in Africa. People outside Botswana don’t really know that a skate community exists here. If we are talking about a city like Cape Town specifically, I mean there is a lot happening in Cape Town. There is a huge difference between Botswana and Cape Town. They have big brands involved like Vans ZA, a skate magazine “Session Skatemag”, and multiple skate parks, different skate shops. The list goes on. They are doing very well.