2020 saw the “Humanity Summit” hosted by the co-founder of Giants of Africa and president of the Toronto Raptors Masai Ujiri and Hon. Ahmed Hussein, who is the Minister of Families, Children, and Social Development in Toronto. The virtual youth summit was attended by 35,000 students from 154 schools in Mandela’s memory.
This year, the annual event celebrated the former South African president’s achievements and memory and his respect for humanity globally.
“Mandela once said that people are taught to hate – and that they can be taught to love because the heart and spirit are more inclined to kindness than to cruelty,” Ujiri said.
“I believe that. I also believe we have to learn to look for the humanity in each other, to search for the qualities that prove we are far more alike than we might have thought. When we do that, prejudices we hold and differences that had once seemed impossible are suddenly easier to overcome.”
Panellists for the summit included Raptors assistant coach Jama Mahalela, TSN anchor Kayla Grey, NHL player P.K. Subban; Canadian WNBA player Kia Nurse; Marci Ien, MP for Toronto Centre; former Vancouver Whitecaps F.C. and Team Canada soccer player, Andrea Neil; and youth activists Cameron Davis, Rachel Cheng, Cherise Herman, and Chantal Herman. The event was made possible with the support of Personas Social Inc., the El Mocambo, and Bell Canada also featured a performance from pop sensation LU KALA.
“When we lost Mandela, we lost a giant of humanity,” Hussein said. “He is an example of someone who appears once every hundred years. When you look at his expressions of wisdom, he often emphasized the important role of education. He termed education as a weapon of social change – of personal change but also community change.”
The summit marks the seventh year that Giants of Africa has paused and gathered to remember Mandela’s life. About 35,000 middle and high school students from across the province of Ontario could see Grey’s panel discussions with recognized each other’s humanity; the theme of this year’s youth summit also recognized the philanthropic efforts of Ujiri.
Ujiri’s love of basketball paved his way to becoming the first African-raised president and general manager for a central North American sports team. He co-founded Giants of Africa in 2003, with a mission is to use basketball to enrich the lives of African youth globally through education on and off the court. Giants of Africa’s goal is to guide tomorrow’s African leaders through mentorship and quality instruction to realize their leadership potential and provide them with opportunities to learn and grow.