Ghana Opens First-Ever ‘Off The Wall’ Skatepark Honoring Fashion Icon Abloh

The late US fashion legend Virgil Abloh, who was managing the project before he passed away in late November, was honored with musical performances by local musicians and skate sessions by both experts and amateurs at the unveiling of Ghana’s first skate park in the heart of the capital, Accra.

In honor of late US fashion artist Virgil Abloh, who was directing the project before his death in late November, Ghana has launched its first skate park in the center of the capital, Accra. 

Organizers paid respect to the American designer of Ghanaian ancestry with musical performances by local musicians and skate sessions by pros and beginners during the park’s unveiling. 

“Abloh was here,” is prominently written on a park fence wall, among the list of celebrities who contributed to the Freedom Skatepark’s funding. 

Abloh, who was the artistic director for Louis Vuitton’s men’s collections and whose family originated from Ghana, died of cancer last month at the age of 41, after becoming the industry’s first significant black designer.

Abloh rose to the top of the fashion world from Chicago’s skate and DJ scene, first with his own red-hot label Off-White, and then in the luxury sector in Paris.

But he never forgot his Ghanaian roots; earlier this year, he walked the Vuitton runways wearing Kente, a traditional Ghanaian fabric. 

His Off-White clothing line is one of the sponsors of the new park, which was built with the support of Surf Ghana, a local group dedicated to empowering youngsters via extreme sports instruction. 

Skating, according to Sandy Alibo, the creator of Surf Ghana, is a lesser-known sport in Ghana. 

However, she feels it will help enhance tourism and provide networking chances for young Ghanaians.

“We’re not talking only about sports, but we’re talking building self-confidence in the youth, about tourism and developing youth entrepreneurship,” she told AFP.

“They connect and share ideas. Skateboarders make the city alive because they entertain people and that is what Ghana needs.”

Alibo expressed her desire to see Ghana compete in international skateboarding contests one day.

“Skateboarding has been accepted at the Olympic Games and that can help develop the sports in Africa.”

According to Joshua Odamtey, a skateboarding coach, the park would also assist children to develop their passion for the sport.

“We share what we know with the minors because in some years to come we’ll not be here anymore,” he said.

“Skateboarding is a way of exercising and also to have fun.”

Last month, African designers praised Abloh, saying he had paved the way for them and given them a voice in the global fashion market.

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