This past week we decided to add a little something extra to our Valley of 1000 Hills tour. As many of you reading this already know, here at Street Scene we are fans of authenticity. Because of this our tours don’t usually go where other tours go, we like to find our own path. This isn’t something we undertake to be different, we do this because we don’t like showcasing things that are staged… we’re fans of “The Real Deal”. We aim to show our guests South Africa as she truly is. Hence when we visit the Valley of 1000 Hills we avoid the cultural villages and tour bus routes. Instead we head on out and deep into the hills and valleys of this beautiful part of the country and aim to let our guests experience an authentic encounter with South Africa that they aren’t soon likely to forget.
On a trip into the Valley of 1000 Hills we decided to stop in and visit the crew at Indigo Skate Camp. Founded by Dallas Oberholzer in 2001, Indigo is the founding project of a series of such camps established in Rural and or disadvantaged areas around South Africa. This rural facility has grown over the years with contributions from more fortunate urban participants who attended youth camps at the facility as well as a proud group of impressive sponsors the likes of ELEMENT Skateboards, Laureus Sport For Good Foundation and a dose of Government funding. The result is more that just a phenomenal skate-park housed in the middle of rural KZN, it’s a life line and learning center for a host of kids from the surrounding communities.
Today Indigo Skate Camp hosts a tourism ambassador programme employing 35 youths in the surrounding village. When we popped in we were met by “T” and “G” two of Indigo Skate Camp’s operational managers and accomplished skaters. Unfortunately the park was very quite whilst we were there, “G” informed us that at that time of the morning most kids are still in church or completing their chores which their parents make them get out the way before letting them get lost in the parks bowls, ramps and giant half pipes. Nevertheless we were given the grand tour along with our two guests. The facilities are impressive and the setting is really unexpected. One is use to seeing such parks surrounded by buildings and concrete, not fertile African bush with a river meandering its way through the background on the valley floor. It’s a surreal experience.
Indigo Skate Camp also hosts volunteers at various points during the year which they accommodate on site. Their latest accommodation unit is almost complete and quite something to behold. The walls of this beautiful room are made from compacted earth and a dash of concrete. Old half pipes are used as moulds to build up the walls. The support beams for the roof rest on one another much like a Native American tepee , over this is draped a special plastic sheet which is deflects the penetration of organic matter which is important because the roof surface resting on top of it is a living garden of wild grass and bushels. The center of the roof it topped with a skylight and looks amazing. The entire thing is really something special. Made from the surrounding earth, topped with the local living foliage and lit by the African sun. Needless to say our guests were gobsmacked by the entire experience. Indigo Skate Camp really is something unique, not only in its setting but Dallas really has come up with a special approach to merging the worlds of Skate Boarding and traditional African values.
For more info on Indigo Skate Camp please click HERE