Rollerblading Has Caught Fire in Nairobi and This Guy’s the Star
Kenya may be decades late to the in-line skating trend, but one fleet-footed 24-year-old has turned his city’s latest craze into a lifeline for his family.
Photos & Video by Rachel Clara Reed
The parking lot in Nairobi’s Central Business District doesn’t look like much Monday to Saturday: just a stretch of concrete surrounded by 1960s office buildings. But on a Sunday the space is jam-packed with rollerbladers. People of all shapes and sizes glide and wobble around a giant, car-free skating loop. Children whizz by gleefully, darting over the uneven concrete and tumbling to the ground. Twenty-somethings play street hockey on their blades in one corner, toddlers take lessons in another, and all the way around the edges of the rink lie battered pairs of rollerblades, lined up and ready to be rented out. Friends, parents and children sit on the walls surrounding the parking lot, taking pictures.
Among all this action, Samuel Ngara Kabundi stands out. At 24 years old, Sam, as he’s known, is easily the best skater in the park, and delights the cluster of kids around him with his smooth moves – crouching with one leg in the air, speeding backward…