The inaugural Giants of Africa Festival that was supposed to take place in Kigali this August has been postponed to 2021 over Covid-19 concerns.
The week-long festival will bring together 200 youth from 11 African countries namely; Nigeria, Senegal, Cameroon, Mali, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan and Somalia.
The event is aimed at helping young people to celebrate the game of basketball and showcase their respective cultures. The participants will also meet inspiring industry leaders from around the world who will deliver leadership and education seminars.
In a statement released on Wednesday, June 3, Giants of Africa noted that "The health and welfare of our partners, coaches, youth participants, vendors, along with the local communities we serve, is our highest priority."
"Due to the outbreak of COVID-19 and the need for social distancing, Giants of Africa, has decided to postpone the inaugural Giants of Africa Festival 2020, scheduled for August 16 - 22, 2020, in Kigali, Rwanda to 2021," reads parts of the statement.
About the postponement, Giants of Africa Co-Founder Masai Ujiri said: "One of the goals of the festival is to bring together all the diverse cultures that make up Africa to Rwanda. Social distancing is one of the tools to help fight this pandemic and coming together would contradict everything our healthcare experts are stressing we all do to help slow down this pandemic."
Ujiri is the General Manager of the reigning NBA champions - Toronto Raptors.
"The youth of Africa deserve our very best and in 2021 the festival will deliver just that, our very best," he added.
Clare Akamanzi, the Chief Executive of the Rwanda Development Board, supports the decision to postpone the event, emphasizing that Rwanda is still thrilled to host the festival next year.
She said: "Our nation's leadership has been invaluable in the response to ensure we beat this pandemic. We look forward to welcoming the inaugural Giants of Africa Festival in Kigali next year."
About Giants of Africa
Giants of Africa is an initiative that seeks to provide African youth access to professional basketball training and to empower them to achieve their full potential beyond the game.
The programme was introduced to Rwanda in 2015 and hundreds of boys and girls have since benefitted from its annual summer camps.
Besides organising basketball camps and community outreach activities, Giants of Africa also trains coaches whose skills are sharpened when working with top international coaches.