Founder, Skate Society Soweto
Skate Society Soweto is a nongovernmental organisation run by Sechaba Teefu formed in 2010 in response to the high rate of drug abuse among black teens in Soweto. Teefu figured that forming a skateboarding collective would teach kids in the township how to skate and help keep them off the streets.
With no funding, Teefu and his collective began forking out from their own pockets at the end of each month towards buying skateboards and shoes for kids who could not afford their own hardware, putting weight behind the word “society” in their name. The collective, which celebrates its fifth birthday party this December, also donates money towards hosting skate competitions and charity events in Soweto.
A decade ago when Teefu was still a teenage skater, he and his friends drew up a petition to have a skate park built in their neighbourhood and sent it to their municipality. Two years later the skate park was built, and on May 22 2015 Skate Society Soweto dropped the first black-owned line of skateboards in the township.
The boards are aimed at empowering Soweto youths, not only physically but also mentally, by helping them to deal with fear and overcome stereotypes.
Skate Society Soweto plans to renovate the skate park in Pimville for the new generation of upcoming skaters. “I’m trying to do as much as I can to improve the standard of skateboarding in Soweto, and eventually in South Africa as well, so that the kids who skate now are exposed to better opportunities,” says Teefu.
Skate Society Soweto has appeared in a number of television adverts, on billboards and in and publications such as the Times, Hype Magazine and the Daily Sun. The collective also featured in a Skrillex music video that has garnered over 51 million views. — Ian Macleod
Twitter: @Skate SocietySSS