News / Africa

The Late Manute Bol Remembered as a Giant in His Native Sudan

Sudan activist Joe Madison hopes more internationally recognized athletes would have the same spirit of giving that Manute Bol had


James Butty

Sudanese-born National Basketball Association player Manute Bol, who passed away over the weekend, is being remembered as a kind giant who did a lot to help his country people.

The two-point-three meter tall Bol, one of the tallest players in the history of the NBA, died Saturday at age 47 at a Charlottesville, Virginia hospital.

The late Manute Bol
The late Manute Bol

Joe Madison, an African-American radio talk show host and former president of the Sudan Campaign Coalition, worked with the late Manute Bol on returning South Sudanese refugees to their homeland.

Madison said Bol was a tall giant in his native Sudan.

“The passing of Manute Bol was really sad news number one because he was so young and so active beyond basketball. Most people knew him as a 7 foot 7 basketball player but, in real life, he was a very tall giant in his own country,” he said.

Madison recalled his work with Bol as they both campaigned to return South Sudan refugees back to their villages in Sudan by demonstrating outside the Sudanese embassy in Washington, D.C.

Sudan refugees
Sudan refugees

Bol, who played for four NBA teams, including the Washington Bullets, now known as the Wizards, before his death reportedly led the NBA with 397 blocked shots, still the second-highest in NBA history.

Despite the fact that his highest salary in the NBA was a reported $1.5 million, the late Bol was able to help his people.

Madison hopes other more internationally recognized athletes will emulate Bol’s spirit of giving.

“I think it’s a lesson that quite honestly many athletes in this country learned from indigenous Africans who found wealth through their athletic abilities and returned to their countries or to their communities and wanted to make life better. And, I wish more would have the same spirit of giving that Manute Bol had. He was very much a man committed to a cause bigger than himself,” Madison said.

A report in the Sunday edition of the Washington Post newspaper said Bol remained devoted to his homeland and its customs.

The report recalled the time when Bol proposed to his Dinka wife and gave her family 80 cows as a gift.

The Washington Post report also said Bol once donated an estimated $3.5 million to a Dinka-led rebel group.

The report said Bol was almost destitute in 2001 and began appearing in promotional stunts, such as celebrity boxing matches, to raise funds for his homeland.

“He understood what a lot of athletes go through in this country, particularly when they seem to be extraordinary. Here was a man who people tried to commercialize. He refused to allow himself to be commercialized just for the sake of enriching his own lot. He did it just to save lives,” Madison said.

The cause of Bol's death was not made public, but he had been hospitalized several weeks before with severe kidney trouble. He fell ill while returning home from his native Sudan where he had gone to work on a school-building project, and to help fight election corruption.

You May Like

US, China Have Dueling Definitions of Cybersecurity

Analysts say attribution or or proving that a particular individual or government is responsible for a hack, is a daunting task More

Snowden: I'd Go to Prison to Return to US

Former NSA contractor says he has not received a formal plea-deal offer from US officials, who consider him to be a traitor More

Goodbye Pocahontas: Photos Reveal Today's Real Native Americans

Weary of stereotypes, photographer Matika Wilbur is determined to reshape the public's perception of her people More

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europei
Luis Ramirez
October 02, 2015 4:45 PM
European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video First Self-Driving Truck Debuts on European Highways

The first automated semi-trailer truck started its maiden voyage Friday, Oct. 2, on a European highway. The Daimler truck called 'Actros' is the first potentially mass-produced truck whose driver will be required only to monitor the situation, similar to the role of an airline captain while the plane is in autopilot mode. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Migrant Influx Costs Europe, But Economy Could Benefit

The influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants is testing Europe’s ability to respond – especially in the poorer Balkan states. But some analysts argue that Europe will benefit by welcoming the huge numbers of young people – many of them well educated and willing to work. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

Video New Fabric Helps Fight Dust-Related Allergies

Many people around the world suffer from dust-related allergies, caused mainly by tiny mites that live in bed linen. Polish scientists report they have successfully tested a fabric that is impenetrable to the microscopic creatures. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video Burkina Faso's Economy Deeply Affected by Political Turmoil

Political turmoil in Burkina Faso over the past year has taken a toll on the economy. The transitional government is reporting nearly $70 million in losses in the ten days that followed a short-lived coup by members of the presidential guard earlier this month. The crisis shut businesses and workers went on strike. With elections on the horizon, Emilie Iob reports on what a return to political stability can do for the country's economic recovery.

Video Fleeing Violence, Some Syrians Find Refuge in Irbil

As Syrians continue to flee their country’s unrest to seek new lives in safer places, VOA Persian Service reporter Shepol Abbassi visited Irbil, where a number Syrians have taken refuge. During the religious holidy of Eid al-Adha, the city largely shut down, as temperatures soared. Amy Katz narrates his report.

Video Nigeria’s Wecyclers Work for Reusable Future in Lagos

The streets and lagoons of Africa's largest city - Lagos, Nigeria - are often clogged with trash, almost none of which gets recycled. One company is trying to change that. Chris Stein reports for VOA from Lagos.

Video Sketch Artist Helps Catch Criminals, Gives a Face to Deceased

Police often face the problem of trying to find a crime suspect based on general descriptions that could fit hundreds of people in the vicinity of the crime. In these cases, an artist can use information from witnesses to sketch a likeness that police can show the public via newspapers and television. But, as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, such sketches can also help bring back faces of the dead.

Video Thailand Set to Build China-like Internet Firewall

Thai authorities are planning to tighten control over the Internet, creating a single international access point so they can better monitor content. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok on what is being called Thailand’s own "Great Firewall."

Video Croatian Town’s War History Evokes Empathy for Migrants

As thousands of Afghanistan, Iraqi and Syrian migrants pass through Croatia, locals are reminded of their own experiences with war and refugees in the 1990s. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from the town of Vukovar, where wartime scars still are visible today.

Video Long Drought Affecting California’s Sequoias

California is suffering under a historic four-year drought and scientists say even the state's famed sequoia trees are feeling the pain. The National Park Service has started detailed research to see how it can help the oldest living things on earth survive. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs