Madagascar Skateboarding has an adaptation spirit that nothing can kill

Interview with Tokinomena Andry, Madagascar
photo credit: unknown

Tokinomena Andry is my name but I´m known as DoWz and I´m from Antananarivo, Madagascar. I´ll turn 28 coming September. I started Skateboarding late 2005. A fan of street culture, I´ve been into Basketball, Hip hop music, Djing and Graffiti, and it seems like Graffiti dudes skateboard to get around. I use to play Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2 and some other skateboarding games at that time, saw a kickflip and got hooked up by that. I told myself I had to learn it to confirm its possible. Haha. My favorite trick is 360 flip. That´s because it was the mark that you were a real skateboarder back in 2006 Madagascar. Lol

The skate scene in Madagascar is one of the sickest on the continent, what´s your view on it?

Well, the best part is, it has always been sick since day one. When you are a skateboarder here, you automatically become a member of the family. All the skateboarders here are friends, despite each one having their own little crew. Unity is what helps push us to progress and keep the scene burning. This unity is felt when there is an event for the culture. Also, Madagascar Skateboarding has an adaptation spirit that nothing can kill the motivation to skate

photo credit: unknown

Sick! you said it has been sick since day one, when do you think skateboarding in Madagascar started and how?
I´ve been digging and I think it started in the 2000s by 5 guys who happened to have skateboards and had seen skateboarding abroad. They started to having sessions at a parking lot in Analakely, downtown Antananarivo, then they moved to a famous spot called “Connection” which has a smooth flatground and an average gap. They inspired others to skate and now we are about 150 skateboarders on the Island.

Do you know any particular skater(s) raising the flag of Madagascar worldwide?
Yeah! Tsiky Imanoela. He´s in the United States and represents hard in all competition there. And there´s Rollin Ran in France who has a foundation for the newer generation and helping to put Madagascar out there in Europe. There´s Rhinah Rindra also.

He´s my G! Haha
Lol! He´s one of the older generation and he´s giving Madagascar skateboarding exposure with his ongoing project which make sure to reach those who are really into the culture to be noticed. Rado Kely also raised the flag by taking 1st place in an inter Africa Contest in South Africa.

Are there any businesses helping the scene?
Yeah. There are small businesses by skateboarders or people involved in extreme sport like Gorisa Gorisa boardshop and Ariar Skateboard clothing brand that helps our skateboarders to get gears. And there is MDGSKR too which also helps out.

Do you think skateboarding is a good profession to pursue in Madagascar?
Only if one of the core skateboarders start a company. Because it´s only now that people are starting to understand. But the sport is not yet a field that we can make a living off in Madagascar.

Are there any major annual skate events in Madagascar?
The one we never miss is Go Skateboarding day! As it is the easiest to get everyone involved and everyone is hyped to push around! And it is near Independence Day. It does help fire up the festive mood. Lol

photo credit: unknown

What are your thoughts on skateboarding in the Olympics?
I see it as an opportunity for Africa Skateboarding to shine. It is the chance for us to take part in an international event where we all can represent our flags.

Do you know anything about how Madagascar is preparing towards it?
I and my fellow skateboarders have tried to establish a federation for the sport here in Madagascar, but unfortunately, getting things done with the Malagasy Government is not an easy task. We are still trying. We also created S.M.E.G (Skateboarding Malagasy Education Group) back in 2013, an association that helps to promote and develop Malagasy skateboarding, not only with the events but also every paperwork that have to be done on all the legal side. We also take donation from anyone who sends us something to help out.

Have you ever been featured in a video part?
Yeah, most of them are by myself and you can check them up by seaching “DoWz Madagascar” on YouTube. My favorite one is “a minute of DoWz” Haha I had lot of fun filming “Soava dia” too.

Have you ever skated a contest?
Haha! Don´t mind me

I don´t know how many contest I´ve taken part in but most of them, I finish last, lol! as stall tricks on ramps don´t get much scores. Those in Game of Skate, I always manage to get to the round 2 then get smoked there. Lol!
I´ve taken part in “Refuse To Loose 2” street contest, I got 6th overall and at Monster Mauritius Skateboard Champs which ended up to be a mini ramp contest because of rain, I ended up 4th along with my man Nicolas Labelle. These were at Mauritius, it was a fun one.

photo credit: unknown

What are your thoughts on Africa skateboarding?
Man, we have a lot of talented guys that deserve to shine worldwide. It is sad that we don´t have the support and media focus like in the rest of the world. We have to rise up and do our own to make it work, and keep that unity we show each other like this interview.

What do you think will help improve Africa skateboarding?

We have the talents but we don´t have any solid platform to show it! We need more magazines and other media to promote what we are doing so our videos and projects gets out and be seen by the right people worldwide. Same for companies, we should stop trying to reach out to far away companies that can´t do much for us here and build a solid one for ourselves.

Anything you´d like to say that wasn´t asked? or any general life lessons for the readers?
I think everything was asked. Love every single move that pushes African skateboarding forward, we get nothing if we do nothing. And doing everything we can with what we have is what is needed to start change. And that change can be a minor one but can snowball to things we never had imagine! Increase the Peace and Share The Love!

photo credit: unknown