King Philippe was introduced to skateboarding by a group of young people in Johannesburg on Friday afternoon during his state visit to South Africa. On two occasions, the sovereign tried to balance himself on a skateboard.
In the company of Queen Mathilde, the King visited the Skateistan skateboard school, the fourth of its kind in the world, opened by the eponymous Dutch NGO. The aim of the project is to provide a place of inclusion and learning for disadvantaged children in Johannesburg through skateboarding.
During the visit, the King and Queen took part in a skateboarding demonstration given by the children benefiting from the programme and met the staff as well as some of the 940 young people taken care of by the project. Afterwards, the King tried his hand at skating. He climbed onto a skateboard twice, which earned him applause, but also the concern of the Queen.
Philippe and Mathilde took part in the visit together with, among others, Foreign Minister Hadja Lahbib, as well as the Minister-President of the Brussels Region Rudi Vervoort.
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The NGO Skateistan is linked to Belgium through the Brussels-based company The Skateroom, which produces and sells skateboard art editions. The company donates 10% of its profits to around thirty social partners who develop projects linking skateboarding and education.
Since 2014, more than $1.5 million has been donated to 35 projects, including 200,000 for the construction of the skatepark in Johannesburg. In total, The Skateroom has already donated $800,000 to Skateistan.