Vans Botswana Tour – Photo Feature and Interview

Mosako Chalashika guided the Vans ZA crew on their skate tour to Botswana, but he was also the photographer on the trip, and shot all the photos you’ll see throughout his interview about the trip that follows below.

Screen shot 2018-07-22 at 9.57.26 PM
Trae Rice front smith

Have any other foreign skaters ever visited you guys in Gaborone before?

Yes, Wandile Msomi, Will Twala, JP Du Preez and Sam Khumalo have been here on a trip before. Wandile used to come here from time to time, Mike Chinner also came here with Wandile once.

The amazing ditch spot is in Lobatse, what’s the story behind that spot?

Haha I don’t really know the story behind that spot, what I know is that it’s been there for a few years and we only found out about it recently. Whoever built that spot, we appreciate you!

Screen shot 2018-07-22 at 9.51.37 PM
Joubert van Staden backside disaster

Screen shot 2018-07-22 at 9.49.40 PM
Trae Rice frontside feeble

How long does it take to get to Lobatse from Gaborone, and do local skaters ever go there on their own missions?

It takes about an hour and yes we do go to that spot, but not as much as we are supposed to. It requires a lot of preparation and planning, like getting access to the spot, which is located in a family park. The process of getting the gate pass is really frustrating because it’s a never ending back and fourth mission. Paying the security guard at the gate for the entrance could have been more convenient.

Screen shot 2018-07-22 at 9.50.54 PM
Brendan Dyamond backside nosebluntslide

Screen shot 2018-07-22 at 9.50.17 PM
Trae Rice frontside nosegrind

What is the security situation like for skating in Gaborone?

They are way more chilled than the South African security guards. During the trip one of the security guards came up to Joubert and Wynand with joy and hugged both of them while speaking Afrikaans. At that moment it was sort of like he saw his long lost brothers and it was beautiful to see, but obviously there are some security guards that aren’t as chilled. If you do happen to get kicked out of a spot (which is rare) they don’t scream at you, they will tell you politely and they will secretly give you advice on the perfect day and time to skate the spot when there will be no complaints.

Screen shot 2018-07-22 at 9.53.10 PM

Screen shot 2018-07-22 at 9.53.40 PM

Screen shot 2018-07-22 at 9.54.52 PM
Wynand Herholdt caveman fakie 5-0

The guys apparently even visited your family home and met your parents, what was that like?

It was dope vibes, it was actually cool to see the crew over at my family’s home, and to meet my family. We all had one big cookout dinner in the backyard, my dad prepared some juicy braai steaks and chicken, my mother and sister cooked some food and whipped up some salads. My dad and my uncles were laughing and joking with the crew. Dope Vibes!

Gaborone is really close to Johannesburg and Pretoria, do skaters over there come to the SA cities often, for holidays or even to get skate product?

Yeah, we go to the SA cities for holidays most of the time. SA cities are the ‘go-to’. While we are visiting the SA cities we have to stock up on some skate products while we can. Whenever I go back for holidays I always try and hustle some old boards and shoes from Cape Town homies and give them to the kids in Gaborone.

Can you buy skate product anywhere in Gaborone?

No, not at all.

How long does the border crossing usually take?

Depending if you are a visitor or citizen, obviously it’s shorter for the citizens and it takes about 10 min to get through both. If you are a visitor it takes approximately 30 min.

What was your favourite photo you shot during the trip?

That’s a hard one to decide, but I’m going to have to go with Trae’s front smith grind on the gap to ledge.

Did you guys find any spots on this mission that you perhaps weren’t aware of before?

Yeah, of course! Gang spots.

Screen shot 2018-07-22 at 9.47.13 PM
T-Kay Modise wallie

Did the guys have a different approach to spots than what the locals usually take?

That’s the beauty of having foreigners in your city. They see spots differently and skate them in a unique way.

What area of Gaborone has the best spots to skate?

If you are looking for some street spots then the area around Main Mall, as well as BYSC , that’s the place with the marble ledges where Trae did the front tail and Brendan did the switch boardslide pop out to regular. If you are looking for tranny then without a doubt Lobatse has the best spot, even though it’s outside Gaborone, but in Gaborone I would say the ditches on the road to Riverwalk Mall.

Screen shot 2018-07-22 at 9.52.22 PM
Brendan Dyamond backside 50-50

Screen shot 2018-07-22 at 9.55.30 PM
Joubert van Staden frontside noseslide

Screen shot 2018-07-22 at 9.47.54 PM
Trae Rice frontside tailslide

Screen shot 2018-07-22 at 9.48.17 PM
Brendan Dyamond switch boardslide

Give us your impression of going on missions with the guys in the crew, anything come to mind about each of them?

T-Kay: Stylish, Mr. Drip. Nstwembu boy!

Wynand: Murdered all the ditches we went to as well as the ledges, he was a big fan of Gaborone’s vibes and the people.

Trae: He is a funny dude, he got some good style on the board and skates some hard tranny.

Joubert: Big skate rat. Made sure everything was running smooth during the trip.

Brendan: Killed both street and ditches. Hella chilled dope dude.

It was so nice being on the trip with all them, it didn’t feel like a skate team tour, it was so genuine that it felt like it was just a bunch of homies making a skate trip to another country. Dope crew!

You’ve been working on a project to try and get a proper skatepark built in Gaborone, can you tell us more about that?

Yeah, I recently joined a youth non-profit organization which is called “Young Africa”, it works with empowering the youth, especially underprivileged youth. It’s walking distance from where I live. They’ve got some open land, I introduced the idea of building a skate park there and they agreed with it 100%. I’ve been in contact with ‘Make Life Skate Life’ about building the skate park and they are down with it, we’ve been talking since 2016, but the problem is that we couldn’t find any land this side, so I’m glad we finally did now. So hopefully we will have our first ever concrete skate park soon!

Screen shot 2018-07-22 at 9.56.14 PM
Wynand Herholdt switch frontside noseslide

Screen shot 2018-07-22 at 9.56.55 PM
Trae Rice bluntslide

Screen shot 2018-07-22 at 9.57.55 PM
Joubert van Staden awkward bank-to-bank flip across the channel

Screen shot 2018-07-22 at 9.58.22 PM
Wynand Herholdt switch 5-0

You currently live in Cape Town, how often do you go back and visit your family up north?

I always go back home during all my school holidays, so I go back 3 to 4 times a year.

Do you see yourself staying in SA long-term, or are you planning on going back to live in Botswana sometime?

I honestly don’t see myself going back home anytime soon, but I will go back for sure and work on whatever needs to be worked on in Botswana.

Any words of advice or inspiration to local SA skaters reading this who are maybe interested in coming to do a skate mission in Botswana?

Come through! Your presence will be highly appreciated by us, “the locals”, and there are also a lot of virgin handrails, ledges, stairs and ditches, you name it. The lifestyle is cheap here and it’s easy to get around from spot to spot because the city is not too big. Come through, you won’t regret it!

Screen shot 2018-07-22 at 9.48.55 PM

If you haven’t watched the tour edit yet, be sure to check it out now: