Citizens of Skateistan: Wendy's Story

So far this month, as part of Keep Skateistan Rolling, we have shared the stories of Farzad an Educator in Afghanistan, as well as Skateistan Cambodia staff members, Sovannara and Nhouen. They have told us how they came to be a part of the Skateistan community and what it means to them. This week, we reveal more to you on our activities in South Africa, where we have been actively running sessions in Johannesburg since early 2014. Next year we will be opening our first permanent skate school, with classroom facilities and a 500 square meter skate park. Over 100 youth currently skate and learn with us already each week, but the new park will mean we can provide educational programs and skateboarding for even more youth. 

Citizen of Skateistan, Wendy is an Educator in Johannesburg. Starting out as a volunteer, she is now a part-time staff member, assisting with skateboarding and other activities in the classroom. She is an important part of our community at Skateistan South Africa.

Here is Wendy's story...

I am originally from Zimbabwe. Growing up I lived with both my parents and 3 siblings in Johannesburg. I first heard about Skateistan from my school hockey coach who knew about it. Everything about Skateistan seemed interesting and intriguing so I joined the organisation to be part of the fun and to learn more. I started as a Youth Leader but now I am an Educator, so I help with skateboarding and other activities.

When I first came to Skateistan, my family were quite pleased and glad that I was to have an education because it is what they believe in, but I wasn’t encouraged to skateboard as they thought I would get hurt and my parents are also firm believers that skateboarding is for boys only. When I first stepped on a skateboard I was very excited and a bit nervous

My life has changed quite a bit since I started to come to Skateistan, I’m now able to think about my actions and how they impact on the next person and I’m more aware of my surroundings. I am also able to teach and learn at the same time. To achieve all my dreams, and do everything and anything in my abilities that makes me happy.

Sports and education is for everyone and anybody. Skateistan stands for gender equality, justice and peace for children and most of all teaching everyone how to skate. It is important to talk to students, families, and the community about sports and education so that they may come to learn, know and love the sport and education. Skateboarding has helped me to develop a new love for sport and in a way it has helped me to discover who I am. Children of all ages now have activities like skating and learing that they can engage in after school and do not have to be bored and watch tv when they get home.

My family, friends and community mean the world to me. I was given to them as much as they were given to me, they are my blessing. My friends are all from different backgrounds, some from different provinces and others from different countries. Everyone needs people to love, accept and receive them for who they are and to stand with them when the whole world is against them. Skateistan is like my second family, they are welcoming and accommodating and they will receive you with warm hearts. Freedom, peace and love. I am free when I skateboard to do whatever I feel. I’m at peace with myself and it is as if my surroundings don’t exist. I love skating.

Story collected by a programs officer at Skateistan South Africa. 

Wendy assists a student learning to skate. 

A group of girls help each other out at a rooftop session, 100 youth have been learning and skating with us each week so far. Credit: Nidaa Husain.


Join the Citizens of Skateistan. 

Be a part of our community, that includes staff like Wendy, skaters, volunteers, supporters and students. 

For as little as $10 a month, you can help make it possible for thousands of children to attend Skateistan’s programs; to grow, learn, skate and become role models just like Wendy.


#KeepSkateistanRolling #CitizensofSkateistan #SkateistanWorldwide