Pause: An amazing week ahead…

Pause: An amazing week ahead…

__Team Africa vs Team World on 5 August!

Who can tell me how basketball got started in 1891 and why? What “problem” was out there that someone was trying to solve? You’ll see it’s a very relevant story that I’ve been teaching you here! Here’s a hint: Innovation!

The National Basketball Association (NBA) is the powerful organization behind one of the most glamorous sports in the world: American basketball. Its brand is associated with sports stars such as Michael Jordan, LeBron James, and Steph Curry (my wife’s favorite!) There’s also the Women’s NBA (WNBA) which has stars like Maya Moore, Jonquel Jones and Nneka Ogwumike.

When we were developing our strategy to enter the television business, we did research to learn about all the best programming in the world. We then developed a plan to get the BEST sport, entertainment, news and documentary, religion, education available!

One thing that caught my attention was that whilst many Africans love soccer, they were also hungry to get access to other sports, but couldn’t… Imagine how shocked I was to discover that while basketball is the second most popular sport, less than 1m people in Africa had access, especially with so many NBA players from Africa!

“Let’s change that!” I declared.

We approached the NBA with a plan to make it more accessible throughout Africa. In particular, we proposed to broadcast some NBA live games for FREE in virtually every African country. The rest of the games would be available on our Pay TV channels via a decoder, and our Mobile App for smartphones (Kwesé App). In addition, we would broadcast the NBA channel in Africa, and also build a dedicated Kwesé|NBA website.

All this has been done because of the passionate support of the NBA and its team in Africa. More people have watched and followed basketball in Africa last year than in the last 25 years… Wow!

Now one of the most audacious proposals was for the NBA to try and send two teams every year to play on African soil! To be honest with you, I was amazed that they agreed, and it shows their commitment to Africa, which today accounts for nearly 30 NBA players and has already produced some of the all-time giants of the game, like Hakeem Olajuwon of Nigeria and Dikembe Mutombo of Democratic Republic of Congo.

Some of you will remember the signing ceremony of this historic agreement…

Fast forward to 2017! Kwesé TV is the ONLY broadcaster in Africa which has the 24-hr NBA channel, broadcasting every single NBA and WNBA game when the season starts in October. (Although we show two free games every week, you need a decoder to see everything).

Now the first NBA Africa game took place in Johannesburg on 1 August 2015. It was spectacular. We had to skip last year because of the Olympic Games, but this week they are back…

__Team Africa vs Team World!

The NBA Africa 2017 game this year will benefit the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund, SOS Children’s Villages South Africa and UNICEF.

Already, fans are jetting in from all over the world. I just saw a tweet from Thierry Henry saying he’s headed to Africa. He’s not the only one! We have celebrities from sport, music, entertainment, media, business leaders, ministers of governments, and even a king… all flying in to Johannesburg from throughout the continent as well as Europe and America.

The week will “tipoff” on 1-2 August in Rustenburg with a junior basketball tournament to showcase Africa’s talent. A business summit entitled: “Investing in Innovation for Africa’s Future Leaders” will also be held the day before the big game.

The NBA Commissioner himself, Adam Silver, will share his own thoughts as the Guest Speaker. Remember: This guy runs one of the most successful and innovative businesses in the world…

__The total franchise value (of all the different teams) is in excess of $50bn, with revenue close to $9bn… And you thought it was just a game!

# If you want to watch NBA Africa 2017 on TV, it will be broadcast LIVE in more than 40+ countries, across Africa!

# We’ve given access to national free-to-air broadcasters all over the continent including: Soweto TV (South Africa), NTA (Nigeria), EBC (Ethiopia), RTS (Senegal) and Canal+ Afrique (Francophone Africa) amongst many, many others. It’s amazing!

# The full list is on, as well as Please check websites for times.

# Those with a Kwesé decoder can follow events throughout the week.

# Kwesé Free Sports channel is available in 11 countries, and you don’t need a Pay-TV (DTH) decoder: Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Rwanda, Botswana, Namibia and Cameroon.

# You can also watch the game on the Kwesé App!

# To find out more, including the full roster of NBA players slated for Saturday night, go to:

(This one is for you!) See you there!


Image credit: NBA Africa Game 2015. Who can tell me who the players are?

Author:Strive Masiyiwa

Strive Masiyiwa is the founder and Executive Chairman of the Econet Group. He serves on several international boards including Unilever, and the Global Advisory boards of the Council on Foreign Relations and Stanford University. A board member of the Rockefeller Foundation for 15 years, he also serves as Chairman of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). He is a co-founder of the Carbon War Room, Pathways for Prosperity, and the Global Business Coalition on Education. He and his wife, Tsitsi, co-founded the Higherlife Foundation and are signators of the Giving Pledge.

22 Replies to “Pause: An amazing week ahead…”

  1. Afterthought 1.
    Over the decades since the NBA was founded (1946), scores of great NBA players have hailed from the African continent. Let’s get the list started. Who was the first? What team did he play for? What country did he come from? Let’s see if we can get every single NBA player from Africa recognized here! Don’t forget their countries! Wow!

  2. Afterthought 2.
    I will publish the list of winners of tickets to the NBA Africa 2017 game on tomorrow night. The winners will get tickets, travel and free accommodation. I will give them some lunch as well.

  3. Afterthought 3.
    Did you know that my wife, Tsitsi, played for two national teams, in two different sports, at the same time, when she was at school? Can you guess what they were?
    (a) basketball and soccer
    (b) basketball and tennis
    (c) basketball and hockey
    (d) basketball and netball
    (The answer is on So no prizes!)

  4. Desiré asks,

    What about marketing the Kwesé decoder in Cameroon?

    My reply,
    Kwese Free Sport broadcasts in Cameroon. We are planning a major roll out once all licenses have been cleared.
    You will definitely be able to see the game next week either on KFS or on your mobile App, laptop or computer.

  5. Smrithy writes,

    I love basketball.. But em jus 4 feet tall.

    My reply,

    Enjoy you own gifts and celebrate those of others…
    I’m not that tall myself but I have always been a giant inside.

  6. Ubong writes,

    The names of the three players in the above pictures are: Kenneth Faried (America, 27yrs), Hakeem Olujuwon (Lagos-Nigeria, 54yrs) and Dikembe Mutombo (Congo, 51)

    My reply,
    At the 2015 game we had a surprise for the fans, which was to bring on the two all time NBA legends from Africa:
    #Hakeem Olajuwon
    #Dikembe Mutombo,

    Both men are now in their fifties like me.
    When they came on the court to play for just 15 minutes, the entire place exploded in thunderous Joy!
    It was like seeing Pele come to play alongside Maradona!

    What was sad for many is that millions of young people in Africa, even in their day had never seen these two gentle Giants play their game at their peak.
    Kwese Sports will never let that happen again.

  7. Busani writes,

    Wonderful and inspirational as is always the case. There is a pertinent question that every potential Kwese subscriber is always asking Dr Strive. It’s about the broadcasting of the EPL, they want to know when they’ll be able to watch all the games and not just one game per week. It’s been difficult to expound on the issue since we do not have detailed information. How best can we respond to the market?

    My reply,
    The Pay Tv rights for EPL are held by a competitor. We hold the Free To Air rights for EPL which limits us to the one live match per week. As our rights are “free” To Air we are not allowed to charge you for seeing those games that we broadcast, so if you have our decoder and you have no subscription the EPL games on KFS are always free of charge.
    We have exclusive rights on other sports like basketball.
    That is the way the industry works my brother, and there is nothing unfair about it.
    I believe we have our own competitive advantages in other sports outside EPL, and areas like entrepreneurship, Netflix, entertainment, news, and children’s programming.

  8. Afterthought:
    When I told my wife who once played basketball for the Zimbabwe national team, that we had done a deal on the NBA, she smiled and said:
    “Does your deal include the Women?”
    “Yes, of course”.
    We went together to sign the agreement at the NBA in New York.
    Kwese Sports is also the biggest broadcaster of woman’s sports in Africa. In every sport that we sign we ask for women’s sports to be included.
    We must “walk the talk, to be the change we want to see.”
    I have five beautiful daughters remember, and I want them to have equal opportunity in everything!

  9. Will writes,

    I have to take a break from following Mr. Strive he sets my “Business mind” on fire that I seem to live with a headache most of the time now.

    My reply,
    This made my day!
    It is this fire that will light up our continent.

  10. Afterthought:
    Whenever I study anything, I like to look into its history. This is important for getting a perspective.
    However big something looks today it was once small and inconsequential:

    “If basketball was started in 1891, does that mean there are possibly new sports also being created in 2017, that could one day be multi-billion industries?”
    Just suppose you had the ability to spot something that has just started, and you could “see” where it will be in 10 years time?

    Last year I took a trip to America to see a new sport (called eSport) that is expected to be bigger than soccer or basketball within 20 years. I was blown away!
    Most adults will laugh, but I’m not laughing because I’m young when it comes to such issues!!!

  11. Afterthought:
    A European country recently announced that by 2040 they will no longer allow Petrol or diesel vehicles on their roads.
    This is inevitable because the Combustion Engine has overstayed its welcome, just like the horse before it!

    So what happens to the price of oil, and platinum when cars are electric?

    I don’t know about you but I know what I’m going to do:
    Position myself (NOW) to prosper from such a change. I refuse to be a victim of change.

  12. Patrick writes,

    You are real a game changer for Africa Mr Masiyiwa, if all successful business people in Africa were as passionate about our continent as you are, we would be a very successful continent,may God bless you more, my son Trevor is 4 years old and he loves this game so much, his coach is part of the team preparing this specific event. I’m going to order the decoder so that he doesn’t miss it.
    Patrick from Dar es salaam.

    My reply,
    He is only 4!
    What is his name? We need to know this future giant now!

  13. Afterthought:
    Some of you sports entrepreneurs need to be looking into African sports and games that have not yet been commercialized.
    “There is gold in them hills”!
    Don’t say there are no opportunities for you. Some of these things are just waiting for you!

  14. Divine Glory
    Thank you Dr Strive Masiyiwa for the powerful words of inspiration that you always share.I have followed your inspiration ,determination,courage,commitment ,passion for growth and success in what you believe in to be true.I have known you and believed in your revelation to change and inspire our world in 1996 when all that we see through Econet in Zimbabwe was “your revealed word from God”.God made me believe in what He had laid in your heart to do and I earnestly prayed for your revealed word to become a reality.The God of heaven surely gave you success and now you are inspiring and encouraging budding enterpruneurs that “it is indeed possible to be successful in what God inspires you to do in this world regardless of obstacles that comes in one’s way”.Look where you have come from from ,where you are at and where God is taking uou to!!Its amazing what God can do using simple and humble people like you my brother.You inspired me personaly since 1996 and God gave me a vision for charity that He birthed in my heart on May 16th 1996.I tapped into “the same source of your inspiration” and God gave me success and He keeps opening up new frontiers of opportunity to tap into what He will bring to pass in the fulness of His time.You are my “inspiration,Doctor and Brother in this land of the living.Keep believing in what God reveals to you and do it for God will always give you success.Iam part of the “crowd of witnesses”who has seen you and prayed for you while Econet was “your own revealed truth”.Keep flying high and inspiring Africa and all the world for God has chosen you in times like this to encourage and give hope to those who have” their own revealed words awaiting to inspire our world”May God bless you and give you success in all you purpose to do to make our world a better place to live for everyone my brother.Be encouraged God is with you Mighty man of great valour.

    My reply,
    Thank you and God bless you mightily

  15. Dot writes,

    I would love to see such an initiative that will promote African Basketball. In Africa we use FIBA rules and not the NBA ones. In as much as NBA is a hit, I would love to see promotion of our Afro-Basket competitions so they too can get some sort of spotlight. This post has got me thinking about how I can use this platform or get engaged in creating one that will do just this, promote and develop the sport in areas where they cant afford to have a television set.

    My reply,
    When you get our decoder you will realize that we are investing heavily in African basketball.
    Kwese is the home of basketball in Africa, not just NBA.
    Even this game is preceded by an entire week of junior basketball competitions to help showcase the skills of our homegrown talent.

  16. Opportunity or threat?®ion=opinion-c-col-left-region&WT.nav=opinion-c-col-left-region&_r=0

    When you read an article like this one, what goes through your mind?
    [I raised the issue in another afterthought].

    What you “see” will determine whether you are “wired” as an entrepreneur or not.
    Some will just shrug their shoulders and others will be deeply troubled or even scared.
    As an entrepreneur you start thinking about the opportunities that might emerge from this inevitable change.
    Did you know that in New York there are people still fighting to keep the horse more than 100 years after it was replaced by cars!
    What business do you think you can start when cars go electric in your country? Remember there will be no Petrol (or Gas) Stations?

  17. #Kenyan Elections:

    I have been able to follow the Kenyan elections on KTN from other African countries using my Kwese App.
    I also follow Nigerian News on Kwese TV (TVC Channel) and in two weeks we are adding Channels News.
    Every country’s national broadcaster can be accessed locally on a Kwese decoder.
    Currently only TVC, KTN, Channels TV, can be accessed from outside the home country. This is because of Rights (content) restrictions. We hope to change this over time, so you can follow your country’s affairs from anywhere in the world.

  18. #DRC, Liberia, and Sierra Leone were recently added to the service.
    If you are from those countries and want to be either a dealer or a customer you can visit Kwese.Com and get the details.

    I know our friends in DRC are very anxious to watch the NBA game this weekend.

  19. Afterthought:

    Please don’t call me “doctor”:
    Whilst I’m so grateful to the Universities that have honored me with doctorates, I actually don’t feel comfortable being called “doctor” unless I’m on the grounds of a University campus that honored me in this way.
    Nelson Mandela had more doctorates than probably anyone in history but he never allowed anyone to call him “Doctor Mandela”.
    I guess it is because I never studied for a PHD, and I respect those who spent years toiling to get one too much.
    I also don’t want someone to come to me in an emergency thinking I’m a medic!

  20. Breaking news: Facebook QUIZ WINNERS ANNOUNCED!

    Are you one of 11 winners of two recent quizzes about Kwesé Sports? Please don’t delay going to TONIGHT to find out if you’re a winner!

    For the 10 of you who won a ticket to attend the NBA Africa Game 2017 on Saturday night 5 August in Johannesburg at Ticketpro Dome to watch Team Africa play Team World for the second time ever… Great! Congratulations. Now you need to keep a close eye on your Facebook messenger. We will be in touch with you immediately to help get your travel arrangements organized. Remember: you need passport and valid South African passport already in hand.

  21. IMPORTANT: QUIZ WINNERS were announced last night on!

    If you’re one of our 10 NBA Game 2017 ticket winners, the reply deadline to the prize team is TODAY, close of business on 2 August 2017. We need time to make travel arrangements. Don’t miss out!

    PLEASE check your Facebook Messenger Request Inbox if you are a winner. They have already written you. Here’s the link you need. Congratulations once again and look forward to seeing you.

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