Toronto, ON (June 15, 2023) –Giants of Africa, a not-for-profit dedicated to enriching the lives of African youth through sports, and its co-founder Masai Ujiri, Vice-Chairman and President of the Toronto Raptors, today announced the exceptional talent set to perform during the inaugural Giants of Africa Youth Basketball Festival. Taking place from August 13th to 19th in Kigali, Rwanda, the Festival will bring together more than 250 youth from 16 countries in celebration of Giants of Africa’s 20th anniversary.
“The Giants of Africa Festival represents a momentous milestone for our organization – we will celebrate 20 years of empowering youth and we will honor the incredible communities that have welcomed us. Through this Festival, we aim to inspire and encourage youth, while acknowledging their immense potential and the collective effort to create positive change,” said Masai Ujiri. “We are honored to have artists including Davido, Tiwa Savage, Diamond Platnumz and more join us for the opening ceremony celebration and closing concert, as we believe their performances will further ignite the spirit of the Festival and uplift the aspirations of the local youth in attendance.”
With key themes including basketball, education, culture, and entertainment, the Festival strives to unite and celebrate the next generation of leaders across Africa. Youth campers will represent Kenya, Tanzania, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Senegal, Somalia, Uganda, Botswana, Ghana, South Sudan, Morocco, Cameroon and Mali.
Three events taking place at BK Arena will be open for the public to attend: the opening ceremony celebration (August 13th) and closing concert (August 19th), and the Boys Championship Game, Girls Championship Game, and All-Star Game (August 18th).
Opening Ceremony Celebration
The opening ceremony celebration will kick off the week with an electrifying concert from Tanzanian Bongo Flava recording artist and award-winning superstar Diamond Platnumz. Hosted by award-winning sportscaster Carol Tshabalala, the celebration will also feature captivating sounds from Massamba Intore, musician, songwriter and founder of Gakondo music group, accompanied by a performance choreographed by Sherrie Silver, an MTV Award-winning choreographer and United Nation’s IFAD Advocate for Rural Youth.
The closing concert, presented by Spotify, will feature an incredible lineup of internationally acclaimed artists and performers. Afrobeats icon Davido, fresh off the success of his fourth studio album, will grace the stage with his infectious energy and magnetic stage presence. Joining him is Tiwa Savage, the Nigerian singer-songwriter and actress known as the Queen of Afrobeats, who will captivate the audience with her unparalleled talent.
Adding to the all-star lineup is Rwanda’s own Bruce Melodie, a gifted singer-songwriter known for his soulful melodies, and Tyla, a rising star selected as one of Spotify’s emerging artists as part of their RADAR program. Their performances promise to create an electrifying atmosphere and leave a lasting impression on the Festival attendees.
International Youth Day Forum
Additionally, on August 12th the Festival will host an International Youth Day Forum, sponsored by Dani Reiss, and in partnership with the Ministry of Youth and Imbuto Foundation. It will bring together 2000 Rwandan youth along with the campers participating in the Festival to hear from esteemed guest speakers, including Lt. Gen (Ret’d) Romeo Dallaire, Founder of the Dallaire Institute for Children, Peace and Security and UN Force Commander during the Rwanda Genocide, and Ishmael Beah, international best-selling author, advocate for children in armed conflict, advisor to the Dallaire Institute, and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador.
Partners and Supporters
Giants of Africa Festival would like to express its gratitude to all sponsors and partners who have contributed to making this event a reality:
● Kensington Tours
● Sport Court International, LLC
● Toronto Raptors
|● DHL Express Canada
● Visit Rwanda
● Ministry of Sports
● Dani Reiss
● All One Fund, Jess & Scott Lake
● October’s Very Own
Special thanks to His Excellency President Paul Kagame for his unwavering support of Giants of Africa and for graciously hosting the Festival in Rwanda.
Tickets for the Giants of Africa Festival public events will go on sale starting Thursday, June 22nd at 10:00am Central Africa Time. To learn more about the Festival and to purchase tickets, please visit www.GOAFestival.org.
About Giants of Africa and Masai Ujiri
Vice-Chairman and President – Toronto Raptors; Co-Founder – Giants of Africa Masai Ujiri is the first and only African-born President of a professional sports franchise in North America – the National Basketball Association’s Toronto Raptors. In 2019, Masai led the Raptors to their first-ever NBA Championship and the first NBA Championship won by a team outside the United States in NBA history. Raised in Nigeria, with a deep passion for basketball, Masai began to pursue a career as an executive when his professional basketball career came to an early end. In 2003, Masai co-founded the Giants of Africa Foundation, based on the idea of using basketball as a means of educating and enriching the lives of African youth—both boys and girls. Giants of Africa has used sport to help empower youth to dream big, hosting basketball camps and clinics for boys and girls in 17 countries across the continent. In 2021, Giants of Africa launched the ‘Built Within’ 100-court initiative and have unveiled 26 basketball facilities in Kenya, Tanzania, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Senegal, and Somalia to date. To celebrate the organization’s 20th anniversary, the inaugural Giants of Africa Festival will bring together over 250 youth from 16 countries across Africa to Kigali, Rwanda for a week-long celebration of basketball, education, culture, and entertainment from August 13th – 19th 2023.