NBA player Luol Deng of the Miami Heat has certainly become a star both on and off the basketball court. When he’s not on the court though, the 30-year-old is focusing on efforts to make a difference back in his homeland, South Sudan, a country that has been experiencing conflict during the last few years.
The professional basketball player made his first visit to VOA this week to talk about his ongoing humanitarian work in the African country, his career as a professional athlete, and playing in the first ever NBA game in Africa. Deng spoke with Ayen Bior, reporter for South Sudan in Focus and Sonny Young, host of the Sonny Side of Sports, during which he expressed his hopes of trying to promote unity within the country, through his #SouthSudanUnite campaign.
"This is the time, this is the time," he said. The current generation must stabilize South Sudan, he said, or "the next generation is only going to know pain." Deng spoke with VOA about his hopes for unity, one day after South Sudan’s president put a final signature on a peace deal aimed at ending the current conflict.
Throughout South Sudan’s difficult periods of conflict and the process of reaching a peace deal, the Voice of America has been following the country’s developments carefully to provide its African audiences with the latest news and information.
Deng is in Washington DC for an event his foundation is hosting, aimed at promoting unity in the South Sudanese diaspora, which will take place this Saturday at the George Washington University’s Lisner Auditorium. The night will be filled with arts and music to celebrate South Sudanese culture.