Skateistan Alumni: Ntlanzeko's story

This is Ntlanzeko's story.


I first came to Skateistan South Africa just over two years ago. I was close to finishing high school but I needed some help to make sure I could fulfil my potential. I attended programs for two years, two really good years. 


Before I came to Skateistan, I can say that I was a really angry kid. I grew up in Soweto and later moved to the Central Business District when my parents separated. I went to live with my mother and I had so much anger towards my dad. I was also always angry at school. I felt like my teachers didn’t really want me to succeed; they made me feel like I was nothing, like I was worthless. I was in a bad place. 


When I look back on that time now, I can see that a lot could have gone wrong for me. My anger issues were affecting me badly. I had stopped communicating with my mum and my sister and I had no-one else to turn to. 


Then I came to Skateistan. I had moved to the CBD so I was close to the Skate School. Skateistan was about more than just learning to skate. Cynthia (an Educator) recognized that I was passionate about life sciences at school. I really wanted to pass this subject as it was my favourite subject. I attended homework help at the Skate School and Cynthia really helped me to focus on this. 


Vuyo (Programs Officer at Skateistan South Africa) also really came through for me. Vuyo had sessions with me and those helped me alot. Those talks we used to have helped me to look inside myself and understand my feelings better. She encouraged me to work through my anger and to start communicating again with my mom and sister. I now have the best relationship with my mom and sister, we talk about everything now. I learned how to deal with anger, how to communicate and interact with people.I learned how to dream big and to overcome circumstances. 


I left Skateistan last year, I passed matric (including life sciences) and I was 20 years old. I started looking for a job because I wanted to help my mother. I found a job at OR Tambo International Airport as a good wrapper. Honestly, it’s not really what I wanted to do but I really wanted to take responsibility and help my mom. But actually, after nine months, I can say that I really love my job. It turns out that I really enjoy helping people and I get a lot from interacting with others. At some point I’d like to become a psychologist or a lawyer but right now, I am happy to be doing a good job.


“Skateistan helped me a lot. Without going there, a lot could have gone wrong for me. I have made so many mistakes but Skateistan helped me and made me the calm person I am now who can communicate better. At work, there have been times when I have wanted to argue with a colleague, but I remember what was taught here and I know I can manage things better now.”

In the past, that would have been a major problem and the situation would have escalated. But because of what I learned at Skateistan, I can accept our differences and just move on. Skateistan helped me to be the calm person that I am now. Most importantly, my relationship with my mom and sister would not be this amazing. They trust me a lot; my sister can now talk to me about anything. It’s like I provide a kind of father figure for her. Skateistan really covered all areas of my life and helped me with it all, from passing my favourite subject, to understanding how to be a better son and brother. 


Skateistan's programs aim to have long-term impact in the lives of our students, helping them to better prepare for adulthood. If you'd like to support us to help young people build a better life for themselves, please consider making a donation today. 

If you're a former student of Skateistan and you'd like to join the Alumni Network, please email