One-wheeled juggling: Lagos children learn new skills at unicycle academy

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In a driveway of a suburban Lagos house, 14-year-old Kehinde Oguntokun juggles colourful circus clubs as he swings around on a unicycle.

“People don’t actually do it very much so it looks new to people when they see it with us,” Oguntokun said at an after-school practice session, where pupils learned how to ride in unison, holding hands and twirling around each other.

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After failing to get into university, Kuyoro learned to unicycle in 2012, soon deciding to teach children full-time rather than adults, saying they picked it up faster.

The self-funded school, which holds classes in Kuyoro’s driveway, trains children aged seven to 15, teaching them juggling, skipping and other tricks on unicycles. It has 18 unicycles, each costing 7,000 naira ($23)and requiring regular maintenance.

“People really don’t know what it is, like a broken bike. They are like ‘What is the future for this thing? I’d rather put my child in football academy.’ So I have to talk to them,” he said, adding the daily rehearsals kept pupils from hanging out on the streets.

“We take a lot of kids out of the street … so what they are doing now is channelling their energy towards productive thing instead of doing funny things.”

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