Navigating life, loss, and belonging on wheels

 
 
 

Keamogetswe Masango had never seen shoes with wheels before. Flashes of colour caught the child’s eye as a team of roller skaters flew past. Captivated by their theatrics, she laced up a pair and joined the twirling and jumping. It didn’t take long to sync up with their moves. After years of loneliness, Masango had found connection.

When Masango was a baby, her father passed away. The pain of his absence clouded her childhood. “I didn’t have a sense of belonging,” Masango says. In 2015, she joined Roller Skate South Africa. With artistic skating, the organisation transforms the sport into a creative outlet for her. The trend has swept across the country, providing youngsters like Masango with invigorating opportunities for expression. These skaters relish their time to perform, adding their own flair to their routines by dressing up in traditional clothing. Hours of practice result in a spectacle of movement. “When we skate in unison, we tell a story,” Masango says.

The team’s symmetry reflects the solidarity of the sport. With their support, Masango is thriving. Now 16 years old, she has what she’s always needed. “Not only did I find myself on wheels, but I found a group of people who accepted me like a family,” Masango says. With impeccable coordination, these skaters are spinning stories of strength and courage – together.