Basketball player Bismack Biyombo honoured at BET dinner

Congolese professional basketball player Bismack Biyombo
Congolese professional basketball player Bismack Biyombo
Image: Veli Nhlapo/Sowetan

Fresh off being honoured with a BET Award in Los Angeles; Congolese professional basketball player Bismack Biyombo will headline this weekend’s hotly anticipated NBA Africa Game in Sun Arena at Time Square, Pretoria.

The 25-year-old star is also in South Africa as part of his campaign ‘Child of Africa’ – aimed at providing schools that bring opportunities and shelter to child labourers around Africa.

Biyombo launched the movement with Akon, Djimon Hounsou, Fally Ipupa, Isha Seasay and Didier Droba.

“We are here to celebrate a lot of the work that people have been doing throughout Africa in order for us to move forward,” he told SowetanLIVE at a star-studded dinner hosted by BET Africa on Wednesday.

“More than anything to give the kids hope and help them understand what the issues are and how those issues can be fixed. They are the ones that are going to be able to fix these issues.”

The 6 ft 9 heartthrob uses sports and education to provide young people with life skills that make them integral parts of their communities through his non-profit charity organisation Bismack Biyombo Foundation.

Biyombo is also the co-founder of Kivu International School (KIS), a school in his home country aimed at youth development.

These are just some of the reasons why he was honoured with the BET International’s Global Good Award in June.

“It was great for me because BET has given us a platform where we can speak about certain issues and be the voice for others. For me I don’t think I can praise myself for getting this award here and another award there,” he coyly said.

“I think it’s about having the opportunity to speak about other people. To speak about these little boys and girls that one day we hope could become somebody.

“More than everything we get to speak about Africa, because sometimes we still have to explain ourselves. The more we can speak about Africa, the less we have to explain ourselves.”

Held in honour of Nelson Mandela centenary, the NBA Africa Game will this year take place in support of Nelson Mandela Foundation. This is the third time that the game is returning to SA. The NBA Africa Game will take place in the form of Team Africa vs. Team World format.

Team Africa will be made out of players born in Africa or with direct family ties to the continent, while Team World will comprise of players from the rest of the world. 

Biyombo will co-captain Team Africa.

“I’m excited to be back here, this is my seventh time. I’m looking forward to the game on Saturday,” he said.

“My favourite memories of SA are when I get to connect with the kids.

“You listen to their dreams and hopes. In some of these kids you get to see yourself and appreciate yourself. I’ve always said it’s about the kids. It’s all about listening and learning from them.”

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