Giants of Africa
The summer of 2016 left an indelible mark on my heart and mind. As a photographer and human being, I began a journey that would change my life forever. I joined a team of like-minded people who were shaped by a life in basketball, all sharing a mutual love for the game and a strong belief in its ability to change the world.
Giants of Africa was the name written on our chest; from East to West, our month-long journey took us to basketball camps and community outreach events in six countries: Senegal, Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, Rwanda, and Botswana. Under a tight schedule, a dozen of us jumped in and out of aircrafts and navigated customs with copious amounts of gear for young campers in hand. Amidst the whirlwind, we found camaraderie during endless bus rides that left us with four short days at each camp location to train, teach, and plant the seeds of leadership in the minds of African youth. It was intense. Even though I was familiar with some aspects of the motherland, as a Frenchman, I was an outsider, a rookie who needed to prove himself tothe team and gain trust from Giants of Africa’s architects — Masai Ujiri and Godwin Owinje.
As a “witness with a lens” embarking on this new expedition, I quickly realized the non-profit’s mission transcends sport. From the on-court action to the mentoring sessions, it’s about spreading the gospel of empowerment and education, injecting self-confidence and ambition within the spirit of each and every boy and girl participating. Friendships grew quickly as we communicated through the universal language of basketball, creating a GOA family through shared experiences. One month evolved to multiple summers together as GOA became an annual tradition. Each of us willingly left our loved ones behind to support a cause greater than ourselves.
From the boundless pool of athletes in Nigeria, to the resilient refugee camps of Kenya, the images captured through my lens encapsulate the very essence of Africa's creativity and vitality and embody the aspirations of a young person striving for greatness, both on and off the court. This curated selection narrates the collective journey of the ‘Giants’ of Africa as they navigate the expansive terrain armed with nothing but a simple basketball, imparting hope to the future leaders of the continent.