Mutombo Calls For Africa Aid

Dikembe Mutombo has a long history of philanthropic work, highlighted by the construction of a $29 million, 300-bed hospital in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, his native country. Mutombo was awarded the Mannie Jackson Human Spirit Award from the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2007 and was named the NBA’s global ambassador in 2009.

On Thursday, along with Cindy McCain, singer K’Naan, ONE (an organization that fights famine and preventable disease) and the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), Mutombo held a conference call to discuss famine in the Horn of Africa. The group was speaking from Nairobi, after visiting a Somali refugee camp in Dadaab, Kenya earlier in the day.

According to a ONE press release from earlier this month…

In recent weeks, the UN has declared a famine in parts of southern Somalia, due to what is being called one of the worst droughts in the past 60 years. This has left more than 11 million people in the Horn of Africa – greater than the populations of Houston and New York City combined- desperately in need of food, emergency agricultural assistance, clean water and basic sanitation.

The group spoke of children at the camp in Dadaab who were living without proper nutrition or medical care, and ultimately living without hope.

“People feel as though they’ve been left there,” K’Naan, a Somalia native, said, “that they’re forgotten.”

Kenna, McCain and Mutombo expressed the need for people to not only donate to the cause, but to spread the word and raise awareness regarding a situation that isn’t going away. The Guardian recently reported that about 1,400 Somalis arrive in Dadaab every day.

“How many more children have to die,” Mutombo asked, “before we react?”

You can help by signing a petition asking world leaders to address the UN’s call for emergency assistance funding and/or visiting to make a donation toward the cause.

“Ten dollars is going to go a long way within these camps,” McCain said.

Next week, Mutombo will join Patrick Ewing, Alonzo Mourning and several more former players and current coaches as part of Basketball without Borders Africa 2011 in Johannesburg, South Africa. The camp is for the continent’s top 18-and-under players, but goes well beyond basketball, promoting life skills and participating in several community outreach events.


John Schuhmann is a staff writer for You can e-mail him here or follow him on Twitter.


  1. Professional Athletes David says:

    It is good news to hear that Mutombo is giving aid for those who need it. It is really nice to see players doing good things to give back to those people that really need them. It is really happy event and I hope that many people would follow his example.

  2. Keith - CA says:

    Great real life story of a very caring person. I donated…….. did you? Nobody on the planet should ever starve.
    (I’m not trying to sound preachy) 🙂

  3. Zar The Knicks Fan says:

    Mt.Mutombo is HOFer no doubt about that. he was a good player and he has a good heart. i really wanted him to win a championship. he played hard and tried his best no matter where he play or how many minutes he play. he give so much back to communities for the good of people. today’s stars should learn from mutombo,

  4. mdmdmdmd says:

    Mutombo needs to call for aid to the United States.

  5. Gary says:

    Don’t bother asking any of the current NBA stars for help unless you can give them something out of it.

  6. niel says:

    aside from being a good basketball player, good samaritan like dikembe mutombo should be inducted to the basketball hall of fame for being always sensitive to the needs of his fellow african. his good heart should be commended. LONG LIVE DEKE!

    • robbay2 says:

      I agree, he has opened the arms to so many with his love of the game, and thats what helped him achieve his goal, to help others.

    • jay says:

      And this president won the nocle peace prize for doing what again? Stopping wars? The answer is still not clear. Other than that they were giving it too him, because they wanted too give it to Martin Luther King. President of three wars, give ur award too Dikembe. He stands more for what god and Martin Luther King stand for than u do. Dikembe for Prez.

  7. MaFox says:

    mutombo’s a great man

  8. chris says:

    I always have thought d. mutombo was good guy….and he was off the hook defensively!