Photos

Senegalese Basketball Powerhouse The SEED Academy [Victory Journal Gallery]

Victory Journal sent photographer Alessandro “Zuek” Simonetti to photograph Senegalese basketball school The SEED Academy (SEED Project).

Located in Thiès, approximately 50 miles outside of Dakar, the SEED Academy is a co-ed institution and a Senegalese basketball powerhouse. A basketball school that houses 30 full-time student-athletes, and 50 or so part-time after-school participants, SEED (which stands for the Sports for Education and Economic Development Academy) and the SEED Project work to create community leaders, whether through their athletic skills or otherwise.


There are now nearly 100 SEED alumni working in 15 countries around the world, 29 of whom are playing high school or college basketball in the U.S., and 20 others playing professionally somewhere on the globe — most prominently Gourgi Dieng, a 2013 NBA first round draft pick by the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Brooklyn-based sport and culture publication Victory Journal sent Italian-born photographer Alessandro “Zuek” Simonetti on assignment to capture a few days in the lives of SEED Academy students. His striking images originally appeared in a special SEED edition of Victory late last year. Okayafrica was granted permission to share the photos in the gallery above. Click through and visit the SEED Project for more information.

On Tuesday, June 24th, SEED will be holding its annual summer event at Up & Down in NYC, honoring Toronto Raptors General Manager, Masai Ujiri (Nigeria) and former NBA player DeSagana Diop (Senegal). Additional details and tickets for the event can be found here.

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Photo courtesy of the NBA

In Con​versation: What You Need to Know About Africa’s First Professional Basketball League, the BAL

We talked to John Manyo-Plange, Vice President of BAL, the NBA's new league in Africa.

In February, the National Basketball Association announced the launch of the Basketball Africa League, or BAL, their first professional basketball league outside North America. The launch of a league in Africa comes at a time when African talent is flourishing in the NBA, both on the court and in the front office.

Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Greek-Nigerian, won the Most Valuable Player award last season, while Masai Ujiri, an English-born Nigerian, built the Raptors team that won the title last year. On that Raptors team were also, Pascal Siakam, a Cameroonian, and Serge Ibaka, a Congolese man.

In August, John Manyo-Plange was announced as the Vice President & Head of Strategy and Operations for the BAL. Manyo has been working with the NBA for almost a decade to popularize basketball across the continent of Africa. He helped launch the NBA Africa office in South Africa in 2010, and before that he spent 14 years in the New York office of the NBA, holding various positions management positions.

The BAL will begin play in 2020, and we recently got a chance to talk to Manyo about ambitions for the league, as well as some of the difficulties that have come from launching such a grand project.

Read on for our interview with the the Vice President of BAL below.

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Here Are the Cities That Will Host the Basketball Africa League In Its First Year

Games will take place across the continent in cities including Cairo, Lagos, Dakar and more.

The NBA, ahead of the official launch of the Basketball Africa League (BAL) next year, has announced the first year host cities for the upcoming league.

The league's President, Amadou Fall, made the announcement at the NBA Africa Gala on Tuesday as part of the the Basketball Without Borders initiative. He confirmed that the league will be present in several major cities across the continent, including Cairo, Lagos, Kigali, Luanda, Dakar, as well as Morocco's capital city of Rabat.

Fall also outlined the schedule for the league's inaugural season, which will include 40 games played over 3 months. The league will include a total of 13 teams, each of which will play 5 games.

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Photo courtesy of CSA Global.

In Conversation with Congolese NBA Player Emmanuel Mudiay: 'I want more African players in the NBA.'

The Utah Jazz player talks about being African in the NBA, supporting basketball in the DRC and how 'everybody knows about Burna Boy'.

Inspired by his basketball-playing older brothers, by second grade, Emmanuel Mudiay already knew that he wanted to play in the American National Basketball Association. Then in 2001 his family, fleeing the war in Democratic Republic of Congo, sought asylum in the United States.

In America, Mudiay saw basketball as a way for him to improve his situation. After impressive high school and college careers, he moved to China to play pro ball. Picked 7th overall in the 2015 NBA draft, the now 23-year-old guard has made a name for himself this season coming off the bench for the Utah Jazz.

Mudiay attests to the sport having changed not only his life but that of his siblings. Basketball gave them all a chance at a good education and the opportunity to dream without conditions. Now he wants to see other talented African players make it too.

We caught up with him to talk about his experience as an African player in the NBA, his hopes for basketball on the African continent and who he and his teammates jam out to in their locker rooms.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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University lecturer and activist Doctor Stella Nyanzi (L) reacts in court as she attends a trial to face charges for cyber-harassment and offensives communication, in Kampala, on April 10, 2017. (Photo by GAEL GRILHOT/AFP via Getty Images)

Jailed Ugandan Activist, Stella Nyanzi, Wins PEN Prize for Freedom of Expression

The outspoken activist, who is currently serving a prison sentence for a poem she wrote about the president's mother's vagina, won for her resistance "in front of a regime that is trying to suppress her."

Stella Nyanzi, the Ugandan academic, activist, and vocal critic of President Yoweri Museveni has been awarded the 2020 Oxfam Novib/PEN International award for freedom of expression, given to writers who "continue to work for freedom of expression in the face of persecution."

Nyanzi is currently serving a 15 month sentence for "cyber harassment" after she published a poem in which she wrote that she wished "the acidic pus flooding Esiteri's (the president's mother) vaginal canal had burn up your unborn fetus. Burn you up as badly as you have corroded all morality and professionalism out of our public institutions in Uganda."

According to the director of PEN International, Carles Torner, her unfiltered outspokenness around the issues facing her country is what earned her the award. "For her, writing is a permanent form of resistance in front of a regime that is trying to suppress her," said Torner at the award ceremony.

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