Masai Ujiri Hosts Star-Studded Benefit In Support Of Nelson Mandela Foundation And Giants Of Africa

Raptors President and General Manager to pay tribute to hero while raising funds for Giants of Africa and Nelson Mandela Foundation
Ron Turenne/NBAE

Toronto Raptors President and General Manager Masai Ujiri will be joined by a number of celebrity friends and business leaders in Toronto tomorrow to honour his hero, Nelson Mandela, with a tribute event that will also raise money for Giants of Africa and the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

‘Madiba: An Evening Honouring Nelson Mandela’ will celebrate the life and legacy of the late former President of South Africa and Nobel Peace Prize winner as special guests share how he touched their lives including event co-host Wolf Blitzer of CNN, actor Danny Glover, Raptors players DeMar DeRozan, Kyle Lowry and Amir Johnson, Raptors Head Coach Dwane Casey and Luol Deng of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Singer and songwriter Aloe Blacc will perform his hit songs ‘Wake Me Up’ and ‘The Man’ while Montreal-based Lorraine Klassen, daughter of South African musical legend Thandi Klaasen, will perform Shosholoza, a song often referred to as South Africa’s second national anthem. NBA legend Dikembe Mutombo will also be recognized for his lifelong contributions to peace and prosperity in Africa.

“Nelson Mandela was an inspiration to Africa, and to the world, and tomorrow we have the chance to come together to celebrate his life and positive influence while raising money for two organizations that will ensure his legacy lives on,” said Ujiri. “Madiba’s impact transcends borders, cultures and time. I look forward to joining with people from all walks of life to remember him and ensure his lessons live on.”

Prior to the event in the Distillery District in the evening, Ujiri, Casey, Johnson and Mutombo will visit Toronto’s Nelson Mandela Park Public School to share Mandela’s story with future generations. They will be joined by Amadou Gallo Fall, Vice-President of NBA Africa.

In 2003, African-born Ujiri wanted to make a difference for kids in Africa using basketball as a tool. He founded Giants of Africa, an organization whose mission is to use the game as a means to educate and enrich the lives of the youth in Africa as it provides quality facilities, coaching and instruction. On Thursday, Giants of Africa, along with the Nelson Mandela Foundation, will benefit from the funds raised through the event.  Apartheid stalwarts and friends of Madiba, Tokyo Sexwale and Anant Singh (producer of Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom) together with Sello Hatang, Chief Executive of the Nelson Mandela Foundation, will also be in attendance.

The Nelson Mandela Foundation contributes to a society which remembers its pasts, listens to all its voices, and pursues social justice in order to promote peace, human rights and democracy in honour of legacy leaders like Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Ghandi, Maya Angelou, Martin Luther King and others.