JCSU Lyceum Pan-African Council BAL Bafokeng


CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA, USA 

The Pan-African Council (PAC) recently participated in Johnson C. Smith University‘s Lyceum Engagement Series on February 22nd, 2024, highlighting its mission to collaborate with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in supporting Pan-African development.

“There’s a significant number of developments happening across Africa, and diverse nationalities are involved, however African-Americans are underrepresented,” stated Fabien Anthony, Chairman of the PAC, according to the QCity Metro interview. Joining Anthony at the Lyceum luncheon were Amadou Gallo Fall, President of the Basketball Africa League (BAL) and founder of the SEED Project (a youth leadership development program through basketball), and Her Royal Highness Princess Tirelo Molotlegi of South Africa’s Royal Bafokeng Nation.

The forum aimed to dispel misconceptions and inaccurate information about Africa, while showcasing its positive developments. “Our goal is to demonstrate the opportunities available to JCSU,” said Anthony. “We are keen to explore avenues for expanding global education, facilitating student exchange programs, and collaborating with Mr. Fall and the Princess’ initiatives.”

Princess Molotlegi addressed sustainable community development and educational development, while Mr. Fall discussed opportunities for student-athletes.

A Sports-Oriented Approach

Mr. Fall emphasized his mission of fostering a stronger connection between the BAL and Black Americans. Following the BAL’s launch in 2021, there has been some American participation, including celebrity entertainer J. Cole. This trend has steadily increased year after year. The BAL’s partnership with the NBA has accelerated the league’s growth in its short lifespan of three years. Recognizing basketball’s global appeal, Mr. Fall seeks to capitalize on this popularity by engaging HBCU players.

“We want to make the BAL an option for basketball players to continue their careers. A player from JCSU can look at us and see us as an option,” he stated.

A 2020 study by the National College Athletic Association (NCAA) revealed that only 1.2% of college basketball players are drafted by the NBA annually. This percentage shrinks further each year due to the increasing number of international players entering the draft.

Over 20% of college basketball players pursue professional careers internationally or in the NBA’s G-League, its developmental league. The rapidly growing BAL presents another promising avenue for college basketball players to pursue professional aspirations.

Mr. Fall expressed his hope that this message will resonate with potential players from JCSU and other HBCUs.

Looking Forward

As reported by QCity Metro, Mr. Anthony indicated that the PAC will continue exploring avenues to connect with HBCUs and the African American community, aligning with its existing initiatives such as trade forums and youth engagement programs.

In 2022, the Council supported the AfriCaribbean Trade and Investment Forum, fostering collaboration between Africa and the Caribbean Islands through knowledge sharing on investments, trade, climate change, health, and more. Beyond event coordination, PAC offers youth mentorship and development programs, along with grants and programs that enhance youth access to education, development skills, mentorship, and sustainability initiatives.

“There’s been significant past discourse about organizations developing Pan-African engagement,” concluded Mr. Anthony. “The Council is here to demonstrably taking action.”