Young skaters wow Magumu dwellers

Thursday, April 1st, 2021 00:00 | By
Sammy Mburu is among the growing fraternity of skaters of Magumu. Photo/Courtesy

In conservative societies, order and punctilious fidelity to norm are the rule. Deviations from the prevailing norm are scarcely entertained, novelty is more often than not frowned upon, and the community fetes those who uphold its inflexible ways of doing things as dictated by convention.

A few years ago, roller-skating was an alien sport in Magumu, Nyandarua County. Few people had ever interacted with the sport, except perhaps on television, and even then, hardly anyone had contemplated its commute from the fertile imaginations to the equally fertile landscape of this farming community.


Now a group of youth has taken up roller-skating as a pastime. Mostly in their teens, the youth are occasionally seen darting along the smooth tarmac roads of the region, drawing a mélange of stares that range from the curious to the apprehensive and, on occasion, the deferential I-wish-I-could-pull off-a-similar-stunt looks.

Sammy Mburu is among the growing fraternity of skaters of Magumu. For the student of Karima High School in Nyeri, the allure of roller-skating was too strong to resist, particularly coming at a time when he badly needed an additional pastime.

“I started skating shortly after March last year”, Mburu told PD. “After we closed school prematurely due to the Covid-19 pandemic, I took up the sport.

My elder brother is an expert roller skater, and I admired his moves. I wanted to be like him”.

With virtually no coaching assistance from outside the region, the expert Magumu skaters are largely autodidact. Their moves are further polished by interactions among themselves, which helps spread the expertise to the fraternity.

It took a while for Sammy to polish his lumbering moves as a plebe to the graceful skate of a thoroughbred roller skater.

Today he has perfected his skills, and effortlessly glides along with the experts whenever they venture on the thoroughfares of the region.

“Our typical itinerary starts from the Njabini-Thika roads junction, just a short distance from Flyover,” said Mburu.

“We often skate towards Njambini, branching off at Kenyatta Road, emerging at Kirasha shopping centre and making our way back to the junction.” 

Months of practice

The skaters confidently slither along the 20km circuit, mingling seamlessly with the streams of traffic. Months of practice have imbued the skaters with growing confidence.

“It used to be a little scary, skating alongside vehicles and other objects on the road,” beams a self-assured Mburu. “But we no longer fear them. Not that much.”

With hands clasped behind his back, and assuming a stooping gait, Mburu is a spectacle worth beholding as he skates on the roads of Magumu.

He can shift from a leisurely canter to a spine-chilling bolt at the flicker of an eye. At the peak of his speed, Mburu and his peers can easily outrun a conventional bicycle, he notes with a small measure of glee.

Roller-skating is a recreational activity in which a metal skate is attached to each foot, beneath which are free-running wheels.

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