Kushineta - Skating from the hill to the ramp


Loline interviewed the ambitious young men behind Kushineta, a skateboard company aiming to create an Ethiopian skateboarding scene with its own brand.

Maybe you first heard of skateboarding from the movie 'Kenny & Company,' or maybe you have not. Or the first time you saw a skateboard could be from that kid down the block who was always skating. You could not have missed him. Skateboarding was something new and exciting, but now the scene in Ethiopia is growing like never before.

Loline interviewed the ambitious young men behind Kushineta, a skateboard company aiming to create an Ethiopian skateboarding scene with its own brand.

Background story

Skateboarding’s roots can be traced back to the 1950s when it was first created in California or the 1980s when it first became popular in Munich, a now-famous skateboarding city. The name “Kushineta” proves that we Ethiopians also have managed to obtain some familiarity with the history of skateboarding. When Ruel and his friends started skating about 12 years ago, the skateboarding scene was not there. There were very few skaters and even fewer skating equipment. That’s how Kushineta came to be. Today it is a skateboard manufacturing company and a skate team. And most of all, it is shaping Ethiopia's skate culture like no other.

The team and the skate community

Four skating friends, Ruel, Yared, Henok, and Yeabkal, founded Kushineta in 2019. "We all had our own set of skills ranging from technical aspects to creative and artistic ones so we came together to create a business out of our passion. We guaranteed this vision because we were together," they told Loline.

Back when Kushineta was founded, there weren’t many skaters. Now there are more than 100 skaters in Addis Ababa alone. The skating scene also reached Hawassa, Konsso, and other parts of the country. Kushineta aims to provide skaters with all the necessary tools, from streetwear to different skateboarding gear. "We want to make skateboards as ubiquitous as soccer balls."

Challenges and licensing

Every business has its challenge, and Kushineta was no different. Being the first licensed Skateboarding company meant being the first to navigate the waters of creating a whole new business centered around skateboarding. It was not easy. "The challenges weren’t the first thing on our mind, but our passion for the skating community we were fostering."

Loline asked about the manufacturing process of the skateboards. "We import 60% of the components. However, we want our skateboards to be 100% made in Ethiopia. But we need grants that will help us increase our manufacturing capability." Although having received some grants from NGOs like GIZ, most of Kushineta’s expenses are from the company itself.  “Getting help from the government or investors would help us a great deal in creating a bigger industry in skateboard manufacturing,” they added.


Nowadays, it is common to see skaters around Addis as the community has embraced them as a part of the city’s vibrant culture. The skateboarding scene in Ethiopia fazes many in its authenticity and the well-deserved respect it has from the community. In Ethiopia, skateboarding is seen as a creative sport instead of a rebellious activity. "Most parents used to send their kids to karate schools or just to play soccer on the streets, but now they want their kids to skate. The very nature of the sport also impacts the kids’ character as it helps them be creative and free; most parents are coming to understand that."

Products and services

Kushineta is not limited to skateboard manufacturing. They give skate training, build skate parks, organize skate events, and design and fabricate streetwear, backpacks, wallets, and go-to bags. Anyone can try and skate for 100 birr an hour and even get skate training. The skate training is about 300 birr an hour with a skate trainer who will guide and train customers on the basics of skating step by step. They also have a monthly package of twelve training sessions for birr 2500.

Skate parks are essential in building a vibrant skating scene. That is why Kushineta has been building skate parks in collaboration with Ethiopia skate. The skate events they organize are also famous among professional skaters, amateur skaters, and people who are simply interested in watching the sport.

As a part of fusing skateboarding with Ethiopian culture, Kushineta collaborates with several artists to design their streetwear. “We have hoodies ranging from 1000- 1200 birr and t-shirts from 400-600 birr.”

Kushineta strives to create its brand colored by a passion for skating. The culture being fashioned and the quality of their products is unparalleled. "People can choose their skateboard design, and have it compiled to their liking. The price range of our boards is from 5000-6000birr. Kushineta has its history, so our designs are different."

Skateboarding as a sport

Seeing the raw passion in all of the skaters, Loline asked what skateboarding meant to them. Their revealing response was, "It’s a lifestyle." They explained the essence of skateboarding in life and personal growth. "It is an individual sport. You fall on your own, and you get up on your own. You struggle and learn to get better. You could have a team with you, but at the same time, you are skating alone. It gives you freedom. You are not competing with anyone else but yourself. It is not even a competition but an achievement. You can move in any direction you want. It’s just you, your skateboard, and the road."

Skateboarding has taught these youngsters and their fellow skaters many life lessons. It has served them as an outlet, and they believe its appeal lies in its artistic freedom. Furthermore, they have learned self-control, self-expression, and the lesson that life is just a bigger skate journey. You will face obstacles at every corner and you will fall. But you get up and keep skating, so you get up and keep living.

If you’re super inspired to skate but are still reluctant to or just don’t wanna fall, one of the founders says,

Don’t be afraid. You’ll get up if you fall. That is a life lesson as well as your first tip for skating. And we have really good skate lessons at Kushineta.
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