SMU Basketball - Tour d' Africa

MAY 18-24 :: PREPARATION


May 18 - Formal preparation begins

The SMU men's basketball team has started formal preparation for the team's African Tour. The squad leaves on May 25 for a 12-day tour that includes stays in Senegal and South Africa. The squad is practicing on campus at the Crum Basketball Center and taking an anthropology class called People of Africa. The student-athletes will keep journals during this unique trip which will be chronicled at SMUMustangs.com. The basketball trip from May 25 to June 5, will include a safari as well as tours of Johannesburg, South Africa, and Dakar, Senegal. The Mustangs in partnership with Adidas will perform coaching and skills clinics in each city. The Ponies will also play exhibition games against the national teams of Senegal and South Africa with an additional game against the SEEDS Academy in Senegal.

The Mustangs had class for the People of Africa course they are taking as part of the trip. Class was from 1-3 p.m. with practice from 3:30 - 6 p.m. Former players Jon Killen, Derrick Roberts, Willie Davis, and Jemeil Rich practiced with the team in preparation for the trip.

Bamba Fall - journal entry about the Peoples of Africa class
Native of St. Louis, Senegal

Taking this class means a lot to me because I will get to learn a lot about Africa. Even though, I know a lot about Africa, there are certain things I don't know. I think this class will help refresh my memory. This class really proves that Africa has a lot of culture that people don't know. Some people argue that Africa doesn't have a lot of history. They think that the colonization is the reason why people talk about African history, but this is not true. Africa had a lot of history even before the Europeans got there. I think this class is going to help my teammates learn about Africa and where I came from. Going to Africa this summer is something that I am really looking forward to. I can't wait to see my family because my family is very important to me. I also can't wait to have some tiebou diem, which is my favorite food. I think that going to Africa is a really good thing for the team to do because we are family and we need to know each other really well. I think it will be good for the guys from here to learn about another culture. Since I got here, I have heard all kids of questions such as; do you live in a jungle, have you ever killed a lion, do you drive cars? Sometime I just laugh knowing that they just don't know. I think this trip will bring us closer as a team. We will also experience a different kind of basketball. We will get to play the Senegalese National Team and the SEEDS Hoops Academy. I think that will help us a lot for the upcoming season.



Blog, May 19
Vicki Hill
Director, Altshuler Learning Enhancement Center

Saturday morning, while Jon Killen, Derrick Roberts, and Paulius Ritter were lining up with their classmates at graduation (props to them!), their eight teammates were lining up for a new challenge: Anthropology 3314--Peoples of Africa.

On each of the eight days before they leave for Senegal and South Africa, these Mustangs are doing more than a week's worth of reading, writing, discussing, and thinking. It's possibly the most academically demanding and intellectually engaging course any of them has taken so far. They're the only students in the class, so all responsibility for class discussion falls on them. When the professor asks a question, one of them is going to answer. As they prepare for exams and quizzes, they have to rely on each other's notes. When you think about it, that's a pretty good way to build a team.

Their two basketball practices a day may seem pretty easy compared to what's going on in class Think about it ... can you accurately put the current names of all 54 African countries on a map? (Alex and Tomasz can.) Could you explain some of the reasons the legacy of colonialism has made democratization so difficult? (Bamba and Ryan can.) How about the relationship between climate and migration? (Ask Mo or Mike) What's the significance of the ITCZ? Or the Dual Imperative? (Check with Robert or Papa.).

Over the next few days, as well as while they're in Africa, and then when they get back, these eight Mustangs will be taking exams, writing papers, surviving quizzes, and keeping journals. You'll get to read some of these journals on this blog site. When you do, I think that, like me, you'll be pretty impressed with what these eight guys are accomplishing.



Journals - May 20

During the class People of Africa, the Mustangs watched several movies about life in Africa. Here are some excerpts from their response papers.

Robert Nyakundi - "Tableau Feraille"
The film "Tableau Ferraille" is an accurate portrayal of the lifestyles of many individuals in western Africa. There are many problems that many individuals face when interacting with politics in developing African countries. "Tableau Ferraille" depicts an educated individual, Daam, who is trying to effectively promote the wealth of his poor homeland in Tableau Ferraille, but must overcome several obstacles in and out of his household. Daam feels that his education can empower him to have a position in the government to help those in need and create more economic stability in the government. Since he has become a deputy, he now possesses the power to bring jobs to his homeland and establish some sort of economic stability.

I think the first signs of Daam's downfall came when he decided to get married to Kine. Even though Kine appeared to be the more attractive wife, Daam was already married to Gagnesiri. Daam and Gagnesiri were unable to have kids and Kine was very fertile. Gagnesiri didn't openly reject Daam's decision to marry Kine, but I could see the disappointment in Gagnesiri's face. I think she felt as if Daam was trying to replace her for not being able to give children to him. Even though Daam's children were birthed by Kine, we see Gagnesiri spending a lot of time doing motherly activities with the children. Gagnesiri is the traditional African wife who is inclined to all of her husband's needs. On the other hand, Kine is more of the western-like wife who has her own aspirations to be successful in society. Daam trusts both his wives equally, but fails to recognize the ambitions of Kine. Kine believes Daam should be using his position to collect more money for himself just as the rest of the dirty government workers. Daam is not like the other government officials because he believes that his honest work will help clean up some of the corruption and provide better opportunities for everyone within the country.

Tableau Ferraille shows how even when the acts of good are being performed, the acts of evil always arise. This is evident as Daam is trying to use his powerful position to create economic stability for his homeland, but he must overcome the corrupting forces of President & Co. President & Co. wishes to get the contract of the fish cannery in hopes of obtaining personal wealth. Daam feels that a company outside of his village is more qualified for the contract and then is betrayed by Kine as she steals his proposal papers. Even though Daam is proud that people from his own village won the contract, he feels that there were better educated individuals for the job. Like most companies in Africa, the fish cannery is run by the government without any competition from private companies. President & Co. fail to realize that their dominance is adding to the difficulties that exist with the economy. Everyone is dependent upon their products and as a result of their misuse; President & Co. is creating benefits for themselves rather than the community.

As evident from this film the audience can gain an understanding of why many African nations have made little (if any) strides toward economic stability. Daam has found how truly difficult it is for someone to try to lead a life of good when everyone else is leading a life of deceit. If many African governments are not able to adopt reasonable political regimes that can help the people, these nations will continue to have economic and political problems.

Papa Dia - "Tableau Feraille"
The main idea of the movie "Tableau Feraille" by Moussa Sene Absa is to portray how things work in most of the countries in Africa. Most of the things that happen to the main character will more likely happen to a successful person with good intentions living in the third world country. The main character's name is Daam. He returns to Tableau Feraille, his home village near Dakar, after succeeding brilliantly in his studies. He climbs the rungs of the political ladder with the hope of improving the life of the people he counts as his friends. His first wife, Gagnesiri, supports him in his efforts. But this loving and generous wife is unable to give him a child. Pressured by the people around him he decides to take a second wife who gives him two children, but is also cause for concern.

Daam becomes a member of parliament, then a minister. He attracts a whole group of "supporters" who hope to gain advantage through his position. A plot hatched to recuperate a public works contract and in which his second wife, name Kine, is implicated brings Daam's political career to an end. She left Daam and took all the children with her. Daam and Gagnesiri are made to leave Tableau Feraille. Shamed and terribly affected, Daam will not recover from his downfall. At the end, Gagnesiri also ended up leaving him because she could not live with the shame any longer.

Ryan Harp - "Tools of Exploitation"
"Tools of Exploitation" was very informative and helpful in explaining how Africans have been used and exploited through their colonial history. After watching this film, I realized there are many factors of Africa's past that I was unaware of that made Africa what it is today. The main point that I took from this film was that Africa has been westernized without being modernized. I believe that is mostly due to the developed countries that colonized Africa, but it is also somewhat the fault of the Africans themselves. In some ways, African countries need to be more efficient with their labor and resources.

When Africa first started to become colonized by Europe, the Europeans brought with them their religions and government. I think this was good and bad. The religion and government together was supposed to provide a structure that was strong to help the Africans live happy and successful lives. However, this film shows that the outcome was far from prosperous for the Africans. Their labor and toughness made them very wanted in the slave trade. Slavery became a huge part of Africa. The development that would have been inclining was disrupted due to slavery instilled by the foreigners. Slavery kept the people of Africa from gaining valuable skills that led to Africa's poor development today. I did not realize that slavery put such a dent in the progression and development of Africa.

Mike Walker - "Tools of Exploitation"
In Ali Mazrui's "Tools Of Exploitation", the audience is introduced to the many ways that Africa has been exploited and used for its abundant amount of natural resources. There are many reasons for the lack of development in some nations, the biggest being the British and French colonies taking control of most of Africa. Another reason is western influence. Although western nations as well as European nations have given help to many African nations, they have hurt the development of Africa overall more then they have helped. But as much as other nations have hurt the development of African nations and the development of Africa, not all of the blame can be put on those other nations. Africa has hurt itself and hindered its own development.

Mazuri explains to the audience that ever since the Europeans came to Africa they have been hurting and hindering the African people. First the Europeans created a slave trade between the British and French colonies in east Africa and the settlers in America. Then once slave trade was something that was looked down upon they started a railway to "help develop" the nations again. When in fact the main purposes of the railway was to obtain gold, and glory for Europe, as well as to introduce God to Africans.

Western influence hindered Africa in the sense that Africans began to acquire a taste for the western lifestyle without the western education. Western and European nations would try to introduce the industrial improvements of the world rather then trying to improve the things that Africa has to offer. This left Africa with unmanned companies and unfinished work. This seemed to hut the economy more than help it.

Midwestern nations of Africa are also responsible for the continue of slave trade that took place even after no more slaves were being allowed to be sold in America, and British and French colonies looked down upon slavery. Another thing that African nations did to contribute to its lack of improvement or economic growth is that they began to acquire western and European taste without getting the education needed to fully understand how to operate or run the technology has well as lack of money to run the technology.

Tomasz Kwiatkowski - "The Africans: A Triple Heritage"
During the first day of class - Peoples of Africa - I had a chance to see one of nine, sixty-minute programs in documentary series of "The Africans: A Triple Heritage". It was called "The nature of the continent". The whole series was originally produced in 1986 by Ali Alamin Mazrui. He was an academic and political writer on African and Islamic studies.

The programs tell the story of Africans as inhabitants of Africa. The triple heritage refers to the three main cultures that made the influence on Africa: traditional African culture, Islamic culture, and Western Culture.

The video discusses African developments from the perspective of its heritage. It also shows how geography influences the history of Africa. It explores the roles that water, desert, and the climate have played in developing African culture and civilization.

Dr Mazrui, who is from Kenya, explained at the beginning how African geography has been the mother if its history. He stated that the earliest human remains can be found in Africa. Therefore it might be called the birthplace of human culture.

Africans always stayed close to nature. They were interested in secrets of the Ocean. It was a food provider for them. Besides that, the forest was also giving them shelter and food. They were negotiating prices to get the best deal at the Nile river - the mother of Africa. As an example, in Senegal, an African man was a hunter and African woman was a mother and a market woman.

In the next part of the documentary, I found out that religion was really important factor in the lives of African people. Islamic people had to pray five times a day on a certain time. Their religion appeared for the first time in North Africa in the 7th century. By the time the series of programs were produced, there were 200 million Muslims on the continent.

The fact that was also pretty interesting was that Europeans have had the largest cultural influence. They started massive colonization in most of the African countries. They manifested their power and plans by determining where Africa ended. That's how the Suez Canal was made.

I think that the passionate Mazuri blamed white people of destroying the native African culture and traditions and ignored the development of Islam as a religion which brought a lot to the African culture.

I got really interested in the whole documentary series of "The Africans - The Triple Heritage" and I will hopefully get other titles like "A legacy of lifestyles" or "New Gods". Dr Mazrui has a really specific way of presenting facts about Africa. He is originally from Kenya, so he his accent is of course different than the native speakers'.

Bamba Fall - "Tableau Feraille"

The movie "Tableau Feraille" shows that many Africans don't care about the development of their countries. I think that corruption is a big part of Africa's poverty. A lot of African countries get help from European countries and the United States, but the individuals who receive the money usually think about themselves first before their countries. This movie showed some corruption, dishonesty and explained why African countries are behind and will be behind for long time.

In the movie Daam was a native of Tableau Feraille. He had two wives named Kine and Gagnesiri and also had two kids. Dame married Gagnesiri first, but they couldn't have kids. After he met Kine, he went and let Gagnesiri who was the first wife know that he wants to have another wife so he can at least have a kid. The couple agreed on that situation. Gagnesiri is very nice person, very polite who is always ready to be there for her husband. Kine is always thinking about money.

Daam was voted deputy at first by his city. He decided to help develop the city of Tableau Feraille. In Africa, people have the tendency to have family and friends working for them or give them ideas and help on their jobs. Daam thought that those people were good friends, but he thought wrong. When he became minister, he hired couple people to work in his cabinet. Daam was working hard and doing the right thing but something was going wrong because his friends who were supposed to help him were making him look bad by not investing the money. They were putting it in their pockets.

I think that the movie was very well done, because it tells us the truth about Africa. In Senegal, the same things happen over and over. The money that we get from developed countries is never invested. In order to stay in the government for long time, you have to be like all the others. Ministers who try to do things seriously always end up getting in trouble. Daam was trying to find a way to help the population, but some people thought that keeping the money was a better idea. Daam who was trying to make a difference in the society got fired for something that he didn't do. After he got fired, people ignored him. The only thing he had left was his first wife Gagnesiri who ended up leaving him.

This is the reason why African countries have a lot of debt. They borrow money from other countries and do not use it on something that can benefit their country. The problem now is that European countries don't help Africans like they used to anymore because they now know how corrupt they are. I think that it's a good thing to let them figure out themselves, because I think that a lot of countries depend on international aid. They don't really work hard because they know that help will come. There are a lot of people who want to turn things around but corruption is standing on their way.

Mouhammad Faye - "Tools of Exploitation"
Mazrui, in the video "Tools of Exploitation" presents the exploitation of Africa's human and natural resources before, during and after the colonial period.

He traces the colonial economic legacy, the development of slavery, and European control of Africa's natural resources. I will try to analyze the video and maybe I will be able to say who is to blame and who really benefited from the Colonialism.

Ali Mazrui started by talking about the dual mandate which is the double mission that the European countries had in Africa. The Mission consisted of developing Africa's resources for Africa and use those resources for Europe's industrial needs. Even though Africa has many natural resources, Africa also has extremely poor living standards. People are dying of hunger, diseases and there is lot of political trouble. He explained how white people came to Africa, explored their resources and took the wealth of the country.

Mazrui said that African countries should develop Africa's resources for its own benefit and to use the resources to meet Europe's industrial needs. Thus, Africans need to buy goods from other nations. The West does not share its technological knowledge with Africa to any great extent, leaving Africa with acquired Western tastes, but no skills to fulfill those tastes on their own.

I think that Ali did a good job demonstrating in the video the fact that white people really exploited Africans resources for their own profit. He did good presenting the reasons why Europeans were in Africa trying to help develop the country as well. The only goals they had were to get some gold, implant their religion and have some glory. He gave out the example of the Slavery which is one of the biggest denials of Africa's development because of the number of people Africa lost to the profit the European lands. Africans became the most ashamed people alive at that time. Twelve million Africans were shipped and a lot of those never reached the Americas because they died. The only thing that Africans were gaining from the slave trade was guns. So when Africa exported men and women that are good implements of construction, they imported guns which are implements of destruction. Therefore the culture of violence started in the country.

I also think that Mazrui at some point put all the blame on the European. I believe that the problem was coming from both sides. For example, Slavery existed in Africa before Europeans came to Africa. It wasn't as evil as when white people started, but it was still a type of slavery. In addition slavery and colonialism wouldn't have so much success if African clans or villages or countries stayed together and fought for their freedom. This basically means that some African kings were collaborating with the white people. The majority of the European armies were composed of Africans who were killing each other while white people were trying to find strategies to exploit the resources in the continent.

I assume after watching this video that Africa did gain something from the whole colonization like learning to read, write, do arithmetic, and new religion. Africans learned to speak, dress, and think like Westerners but they are still way behind politically and economically. They should've been able to control their own natural resources and their continent perfectly by the end of the colonial period.



Journals - May 21

CLASS PREPARATION & PRACTICE PHOTO GALLERY

Mouhammad Faye
I am really enjoying the class, and not just because I get to go back to Senegal, but because I am learning a lot. I am learning about other African countries. For example, today we watched a video that was made in 1984 about Mali. It allowed me to learn about the Malian people, their economy, religion and politics. It also allowed me to compare the old Mali to the one that I know and have visited. Africa is a large continent and it would take a really long time to learn about all of it, so I am just using this class to get to know the basics of African countries' history and geography.

Mike Walker
The main thing that continues to pop up in videos and discussion is the need and importance of water. Although Africa is the largest continent with the largest population and is one of the richest continents as far as natural resources, the resource that keeps Africa productive is water. Water has always been a large source of income and is vital for trade and access to the rest of the world. In the earlier days of African society, it was more of a way to transport things out rather than bring things in.

The thing I have found most interesting about the films is that no matter what the form of income, it always seems to come back to importing or exporting goods by water transport. It seems as if being forced to live a much simpler life puts things in perspective. Reading "Things Fall Apart" by Chinua Achebe makes you appreciate what you have and discourages you from taking or using more than what you need.

Alex Malone
The first couple days of class have been very interesting. I have learned more about Africa in a few days than I had learned in the 19 years of my life. When I was a kid, I always though of Africa as it is portrayed in the movie the Lion King, and thought people in Africa could run for days without getting tired. I also thought Africa was completely in poverty and would never get out of it. Even though many people in Africa are making an effort toward more peace and prosperity, it seems all they show about Africa on television and world news is poverty.

Robert Nyakundi
The overall feelings I have toward Africa are slowly changing. I once believed Africa was a continent destined for failure. I now see Africa as a continent with so much potential and in dyer need of political stability. How could a continent with so many resources produce so few exports? This is a question I heard in class during the lecture. It boggles my mind to comprehend why these people are allowing their resources to be exploited and why they haven't been able to profit from the endless natural resources that inhabit the continent. I believe many African nations are not as developed as the rest of the world because many cultures don't use their resources as a means for personal wealth. Many Africans believe the land is sacred and should be cherished.

Ryan Harp
After just a few classes, I have learned a lot that I didn't understand about Africa. I did not realize how diverse the people and the land were in Africa. It impressed me to learn that many people in Africa speak more than one language. I know from my experience that learning a new language is difficult. Another thing that caught my attention was to learn that in some part, Africa is a lot more technologically advanced than I would have thought. Africa has many cities that are comparable to cities in the United States. Geographically, I have learned that the continent is more than just the desert we see in the movies. There are vast savannahs and grasslands. The most distinct area is the rain forest. I know it is disappearing due to the actions of humans, but I realized the seriousness of the deterioration once I saw the changes on a map.

The other thing I found really intriguing was the level of civil unrest in some countries. In the country of Sudan, there has been much dispute about the political systems that have been established. Even though some parts of Africa are dealing with conflicts, many parts are living in peace and people are living normal lives.



Blog - May 22
Head Coach Matt Doherty

"Countdown to Africa"

We are four days away from leaving for Africa! The excitement is building, especially for "The Senegalese Three" - Bamba, Papa and Mouhammad! I could see it in their faces as we discussed the trip in our pre-practice huddle. We will arrive in Senegal Monday morning and practice that afternoon then we play Senegal's National Team on Tuesday!! Can't believe it!

Practice has gone well as the guys have worked hard and have improved a great deal since the end of the season. Former players Willie Davis and Jemeil Rich have practiced with us since we are low on bodies. Jon Killen and Derrick Roberts are practicing as well and will make the trip, even though they will not play. Unfortunately, our incoming players can't participate.

We have had a lot of visitors this week at practice, from local high school coaches, former players, to supporters of SMU Basketball. It is good to give people a glimpse of life from the inside of the program. People are impressed with our organization and work ethic. Good to hear!

Pony Up!
Coach Doh



Blog - May 23
Head Coach Matt Doherty

"Practice"

"Did you say practice? We're talking about practice.......practice.......we're talking about practice!"

Those were the infamous words of Allen Iverson of the Philadelphia 76ers when he was playing for Larry Brown.

I happen to love practice and that is what we are getting to do this week before we leave Sunday for Senegal. Our young men have worked extremely hard on the court and have grown as players in a few short months since the conclusion of the season. Here is the breakdown:

Seniors:
Bamba Fall - has improved his strength. He is more comfortable using his right hand in the post! This is exciting. I am encouraging him to catch and shoot the face up jumper quicker. He is becoming more physical with his post defense, too.

Juniors:
Mo Faye - he is extremely long and skilled. Mo has a very good feel of the game as he can "see and deliver" a good pass. At 6-9 he is a long wing player who can score and defend.

Sophomores:
Papa Dia - his shot is much improved as his "release point" is higher and more over his left eye. His balance is better and Pap is running the floor really well.
Alex Malone - his strength has improved and his "sense of urgency" is much better. He is competing in practice, esp on the defensive end. When he gets more consistent with his jump shot he will be really good.
Ryan Harp - he is still in great condition and plays extremely hard! Defensively, he is one of our best players! The arc on his shot has improved, too. This will help his shooting percentages a great deal.
Mike Walker - he is doing a very good job of handling the ball and making good decisions. He seems much more confident. His leadership skills are surfacing, too.
Robert Nyakundi - he is one of the best shooters I have ever coached. His key is on the defensive end. Once he grasps that, he will play an important role. Robert's conditioning has improved greatly.
Tomasz Kwiatkowski - he is improving before our eyes. TK can run the floor and catch very well. He has a big body and he likes to bang. His ability to pick-and-roll is very good.

Pony Up!
Coach Doh

 
SMU BASKETBALL
TOUR d' AFRICA
 
IN THE MEDIA
May 18-24 - Preparation - Class & Practice
May 25 - Dallas to Dakar, Senegal
May 26 - First Practice
May 27 - Visit Goree Island
May 27 - Game 1 (Senegalese Nat. Team)
May 28 - Trip to St. Louis (Bamba/Papa's Home)
May 29 - Clinic 1: at SEEDS Academy
May 30 - Dakar to Johannesburg, South Africa
May 31 - Clinic 2: Vodacom Mandeville Indoor Centre
May 31 - Tour Pretoria (capital of S. Africa)
June 1 - Game 3: vs. South African National Team
June 2 - Tour Soweto
June 2 - Visit Lesedi Cultural Village
June 3 - Safari at Pilanesburg Nat. Park
June 4 - Game 4: South African Club Team
June 5 - Johannesburg, South Africa to Dallas