One of the sports in Uganda that has been swept under the carpet and given minimum platform and audience, is skateboarding. According to Wikipedia, Skateboarding is an action sport which involves riding and performing tricks using a skateboard.
The only skate park in Uganda, hidden deep in one of the slums of Kitintale a suburb of Kampala city, is flocked every day, by skate boarders who are seen flying in the air like eagles, and landing hard on the cemented skate pile.
If Jackson Mubiru, a social entrepreneur, founder and Director of the Uganda Skateboard Union, had not taken up the initiative to follow his passion of skateboarding, countless teenagers would be dead or behind bars for skating with wrong packs that encourage drug related activities.
The slum has sickening sites. Blocked drainage systems clogged with plastic bottles floating in filthy stagnate green water that emit unbearable stench, dusty walk lanes running in between like an endless maze, welcome you to the park.
Jackson fell in love with the sport while watching television. He was fascinated and thrilled to what great skill and talent it took to pull off such moves. From that day onwards, he decided to search around for a board and a mentor.
His search brought no results because the game in Uganda was still unsung of and unpopular. One day while walking on the street, his eyes got lured to Shael Swart a South African who was skate boarding later turned into his mentor. With enough training from Shael, Jackson felt convinced that he needed a skate park to strengthen his skills but Uganda had no such parks and he didn’t have the money to construct the park.
As the saying goes, “your dreams will attract the right people.” Jackson had land and his mentor Shael had the money. In 2006 together with another friend from Canada Vancouver Brain Lye, the first ever skate park in East Africa was constructed in a slum.
Upon completion, it was not long when community children who were hooked up in breaking the law, sniffing and smoking drugs got addicted to the game for the good cause. He started off with 5 athletes. And today, his proud that the game has attracted over 60 teenagers including a few girls.
“This game magnetized young lads out of the peer pressure groups that promoted smoking marijuana, sniffing jet fuel and all other crimes you can think.” Jackson said.
For the past years, his team has managed to win a few prizes from Germany and in 2014 they won the European Charity Award.
The journey for this sport has come along with predicaments the association still faces up to date, which has halted the sport to stardom. Sponsors from Germany through the skate aid an NGO send donations inform of new skateboards and protective gears, but the association lacks the finances to clear the taxes imposed. “They are somewhere locked up gathering dust waiting to be cleared for many years now.” Lamented Jackson. Getting sponsors here in Uganda has proved to be hard because the game has not been appreciated.
With a burning passion for education, by lobbying for funds from Germany under the Skate Aid organization he is now in position to pay tuition for some orphans and needy children.
The sport has now spread all over Africa including countries in the sub Saharan Africa. it’s no surprise, that most of the parks built are found in slummy areas, giving an inkling that the game has been appreciated.
This calls upon Africans to come on board and support the game to elevate it from slummy areas to a more viable and easy to reach locations with enough facilities.
What other say about him
Moses Dungu President of Professional Roller Skating
Jackson is a dedicated person who loves team work, disciplined and a good listener; he has a heart for the needy and less privileged and a passion to empower community.
Jackson is a very determined person with a devoted, and caring attitude, since he donated his land for the construction of the park and his not selfish with information.