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Tony Hawk skateboards with Zulu children on their home turf

August 10, 2009 |  9:51 am

Tony Hawk grinds the ramp at Indigo Youth Movement.

Fresh from his stint as a TV commentator for the X Games, skateboarding legend Tony Hawk flew to South Africa, then ventured to the outskirts of Durban and discovered a skate park in what seems the most unlikeliest of places for such a facility: a Zulu village.

“I can’t believe what I am seeing here in this community,"  he said. "It is one of the most amazing skateboard sites I have ever been to. The experience of seeing these young people from disadvantaged backgrounds is something that will stay with me forever."

Hawk is a member of the Laureus World Sports Academy and was on hand for the launch of a partnership with Indigo Youth Movement, as part of a larger project to help young people in rural communities develop life skills and confidence through skateboarding.

The program also affords opportunities to learn English and math, and interaction with more advantaged young people in the area. Dallas Oberholzer who created the project eight years ago with an initial focus on promoting cultural diversity. "Having a legend like Tony Hawk land on site is further acknowledgment that we have created an alluring play place," Olberholzer said.

"With this momentum we are strengthened in our commitment to creating an awesome learning platform for all to enjoy, Oberholzer said. "As all skateboarders are connected, Tony Hawk has already impacted our lives; his accomplishments give wings to our dreams."

Hawk is an inspirational figure, to be sure. Hopefully the kids picked up a few new tricks.

-- Pete Thomas

Photo: Tony Hawk grinds the ramp at Indigo Youth Movement. Credit: Patrick Royal / Laureus 

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