Co-founder of Giants of Africa, Masai Ujiri, has announced the beginning of worldwide celebrations of the 20th anniversary of the not-for-profit organisation dedicated to enriching the lives of African youths through sports.
Ujiri, who is also vice chairman and president of the Toronto Raptors, said the celebrations will hold throughout the year to mark the 20 years of travelling the African continent conducting basketball camps for boys and girls, building courts, and facilitating youth outreach initiatives.
In a statement at the weekend, Ujiri said: “It has been humbling to reach such an incredible milestone and there is much to be proud of as we reflect on the last two decades. 20 years of service has only been possible because of the passion and commitment of every person and community that has come together to make Giants of Africa what it is today.”
After 20 of the humanitarian effort, the Nigerian-born administrator said, “we have really only just begun. There is an understanding that we need to keep going and a desire to learn from our journey so that we can continue to help more.
“We are excited about the bright future as Giants of Africa continues to develop infrastructure and inspire African youth worldwide with programmes focused on education, empowerment, and leadership, both on and off the court.”
Since 2003, Giants of Africa has positively impacted over 40,000 African youths across 17 countries through access to over 30 basketball courts and 80 basketball camps or clinics.
Twenty-six of the total courts have been made possible through ‘Built Within,’ the foundation’s multi-year, 100-court commitment to investing in sports infrastructure across Africa, launched in 2021.
Since its inception, outreach initiatives in at-risk communities and refugee camps have been at the heart of Giant of Africa’s purpose.
Hundreds of Giants of Africa alumni have received scholarships abroad, including NBA , Precious Achiuwa of the Toronto Raptors, WWE star, Tolupe Omogbehin – aka Omos and countless others, who have gone on to professional careers across a variety of industries.
The 20th anniversary kicks off this month with the continuation of ‘Built Within,’ the foundation’s multi-year, 100-court commitment to investing in sports infrastructure across Africa.
Last month, Giants of Africa unveiled five new courts in Bobo-Dioulasso, Burkina Faso and Nairobi, Kenya, including revisiting Diwopa, Kayole to refurbish the first court ever built by the foundation in 2015. Additionally, a court was built at Elman Peace in Mogadishu, Somalia – a country plagued by civil war, political instability and traditional cultural practices that limit the rights and autonomy of women and girls.
According to Ujiri, part of the celebrations is the inaugural ‘Giants of Africa Festival,’ which will hold in Kigali, Rwanda. It will be a mixture of basketball, education, culture and entertainment and will unite more than 250 youths from 16 of the countries that the foundation has visited across Africa.
The festival will use basketball as a tool to educate and empower African youth to dream big.
One of the highlights of the anniversary is ‘the Giant of Africa’ celebration in honour of Nelson Mandela, which will hold from December 3 to 5 in Toronto, Canada.