Travel | From NBA Africa Game to Basketball Africa League (BAL)
I have had a fascination with the role of Sports as a tool for development since 2011, after attending Michael Essien’s Africa Day charity football match in Accra, Ghana. It was an exciting game that saw ‘Africa 11’ play against ‘World 11’, with both teams comprising of legendary footballers.
A few years later (and with a Masters Degree in Development Studies under my belt) I heard that the NBA planned to host the first ever Africa game. Naturally, I decided to attend (if you know me you will understand 😂), taking my first trip to South Africa, and planning a holiday around the event. The experience was simply incredible, the game was electric, the facilities were excellent, and I was so impressed with the infrastructure in South Africa, some of which such as the Guatrain, was a legacy of the country’s investment in its infrastructure for the 2010 World Cup. Then I also visited the historic Soweto before flying to and experiencing Cape Town including the historic Robben Island, the beautiful V&A Waterfront and the amazing Table Mountain.
Fast forward a few more years, and the game has evolved (substantially!) into a dedicated league - the Basketball Africa League (BAL) with the Sahara Conference hosted in Dakar, Senegal🇸🇳; the Nile Conference in Cairo, Egypt🇪🇬; and finals in Kigali, Rwanda 🇷🇼. Three incredible destinations, with wonderful tourism industries.
I had the pleasure of attending two games this year, and was blown away by the first class facilities, the atmosphere at the games, the support of the fans, the dedication of the players and staff, the creativity and showcasing of various cultures, the accessibility for fans and the job opportunities for local young people.
I was also impressed by the supporting social responsibility initiatives especially 4Her, the league’s commitment to promote gender equality. This is important to me both personally and due to my work supporting young people with their career development.
A huge congratulations to the amazing BAL team, what a tournament!
We need to continue to support the BAL as they grow the game of Basketball across Africa. That is why I am DELIGHTED to share that Talking Drums will be hosting a Travel Adventure to Senegal in 2024 to attend the BAL and explore Senegal. Make sure you are signed up to our newsletter to be the first to hear when the trip goes live.