‘Shift of Power is Going East:’ South African Skateboarder on BRICS & Conflict in Ukraine

'Shift of Power is Going East:' South African Skateboarder on BRICS & Conflict in Ukraine
'Shift of Power is Going East:' South African Skateboarder on BRICS & Conflict in Ukraine

Africa-Press – Ghana. In early June, the Russian city of Nizhny Novgorod hosted the BRICS Skate Cup sports festival, which brought together the best skateboarders from more than 20 countries. Press spoke to one of the event participants.

BRICS is emerging as a significant force, signaling a shift of power to the East, South African skateboarder Dallas Oberholzer told.

“It was great to network with friends and potential business partners in the other BRICS countries, because I’m quite a believer in looking for opportunities beyond the Western bloc. And this BRICS is definitely becoming a major player, and I’d like to pursue those avenues because I believe that the shift of power is going east. I’ve explored all my avenues going west, so it’s quite refreshing going east,” he said.

Talking about the beauty of the host city, its “mesmerizing” sunsets and its rich history, Oberholzer said that, in his opinion, most skateboarders are enthusiastic about visiting Russia, despite what the mass media may portray.

“It’s great to see a country, of course, that’s government-funded in running skateboarding activations on the extensive Grand Skate Tour, and it’s also, in a way, showing other countries what they should be doing,” the skater added.

A true fan of his craft, Oberholzer even drew a parallel between skateboarding and BRICS. Being “nondiscriminatory” and “beyond language,” this sport embraces the successes of each athlete, and that’s what the bloc should do as well: address the strengths of each participating country.

“That’s just what we [skateboarding] can show the rest of the world. Unlike most sports, we’re not competitive. We embrace each other’s success. So I would think that in many ways what the BRICS bloc needs to address is what are the successes and strengths of each country, so that together we can be stronger,” the skater said.

The topic of sports led to a discussion of the exclusion of Russian athletes from a number of sporting events, including the Olympic Games in Paris. Oberholzer believed that the fact is that the West is afraid of a prosperous Russia.

“I do think it’s the West that’s feeling threatened by Russia, and everyone’s just trying to put out the fire that Russia is a booming powerhouse, and no one really wants to admit it. And they would just like to kind of punch them in the nose now. […] I mean, why aren’t they stopping Israel? I mean, right now, what’s going on there looks much worse than what’s going on in Ukraine,” he said.

The skateboarder also noticed the “incredible” work ethic of Russians that could also be seen in soldiers coming back from the special military operation or just going there.

“Russians clearly are hardworking. I mean, of course, it was also a little sad to see Russian soldiers on their way to war. […] It was quite heartbreaking for many of us to see the reality and the casualties that’s unfolding with war, which no one really likes. […] These are the realities and the casualties that the Russians are experiencing from a war that’s funded by the West. So, I’m pretty sad to see all that because the Russians are good people,” Oberholzer reckoned.

He added that any attacks on civilians, which Ukraine often tries to carry out on Russian soil, are “unjust” and should be “frowned upon.”

Moreover, such attacks show that organizations like the United Nations are biased and therefore cannot “keep peace” because of it.

“I think there needs to be a wake-up call where we realize that there are only certain agendas that are being fulfilled. We have to try and break down and go to the people that are creating these agendas for the world. I don’t think it’s fair how these international organizations pick sides because at the end of the day it feels like they do. I think everyone must just calm down and try to find a peaceful solution,” Oberholzer said.

Perhaps if people around the world did more skating, we’d have fewer conflicts.

“First thing you need to do when you meet on the playing [skating] field is acknowledge one another so you don’t crash into each other and then respect each other in which direction you’re skating, and find out ways to avoid unnecessary conflict or collisions. And that’s just the fundamental of a life lesson on how we all need to live our lives,” the skateboarder concluded.

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