Toronto, ON (December 3, 2019) – Giants of Africa and Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri will host a youth summit in honour of Nelson Mandela on the anniversary of his passing, Thursday December 5th. The youth event marks the sixth consecutive year that Giants of Africa, the not-for-profit founded by Ujiri, will pay homage to the late South African president and Nobel Peace Prize winner.

In partnership with the Hon. Ahmed Hussen and with the support of Bell Canada and KPMG, this year’s ‘Giant of Africa Youth Summit’ will bring together 500 at-risk youth from north west Toronto to celebrate Mandela’s vision of empowerment and change.  The participants will learn about the late South African President and Nobel Peace Prize winner’s vision for global action by encouraging youth to ‘Be the Change’.  The daytime event will feature a roster of inspiring and motivational special guests who will discuss how youth can be a force for change within their own community and around the world. Alongside Ujiri, panelists will include Ilwad Elman, the chief operating officer of the Elman Peace Centre, located in Mogadishu, Somalia, (New African Top 100 Most Influential Africans list); Toronto Raptors scout Sarah Chan; MTV VMA award winning choreographer, Sherrie Silver (New African Top 100 Most Influential Africans list); and Jamal Burger, photographer and founder of The Kickback.

“Nelson Mandela’s life inspires me to keep trying to change the world, and that led to the creation of Giants of Africa,” Ujiri said. “Personally, basketball changed my life. It took me from northern Nigeria to where I am today. I truly believe that it has the power to bring people together and accelerate transformation in the lives of youth and their community.  Giants of Africa is committed to using basketball as a tool to inspire and encourage youth to dream big.”

“There’s no better way to honour Nelson Mandela, himself a giant of Africa and a giant to the entire world, than by inspiring our young people,” Hussen said. “Youth simply need to believe that they can be successful and exceptional. As Mandela once eloquently said: ‘There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living. A winner is a dreamer who never gives up.’ Thank you Masai for your incredible leadership of providing youth with the opportunity to dream.”

A tribute to Mandela’s life will also be recognized in-game as the Raptors take on the Houston Rockets on Dec. 5.

A native of Nigeria, Ujiri’s love of basketball paved his way to becoming the first African-raised general manager for a major North American sports team. Founded in 2003, Giants of Africa leverages basketball as a tool for young boys and girls to Dream Big, and visualize opportunities for their future in Africa and around the world. To learn more about the organization go to or follow Giants of Africa on Facebook at , and on Twitter @GiantsofAfrica


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