Inline skating, better known as rollerblading after the Rollerblade brand of skates, peaked in popularity in most western countries over 20 years ago. When the fad faded, most skates were either hidden in cupboards or donated to charity.

In recent years, along with bundles of used clothes and shoes, some of them have been steadily making their way to east Africa – fuelling a skating craze…

By his own reckoning 90% of the products he sells are secondhand, imported from Australia or the UK in large bundles. This is all part of the burgeoning secondhand clothing business, known as “mitumba” or literally “bundles” in Swahili, that brings used products from wealthier countries to Africa.

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Jan Welch

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