Manute Bol speaks about war in Sudan, opportunities in America

Tara Halbritter

Tara Halbritter

Several students gathered in Rotunda D last Tuesday to hear former professional basketball player Manute Bol speak about the problems facing southern Sudan.

When Bol was 18, he started playing basketball in his home country of Sudan after a cousin talked him into doing so. Bol’s cousin taught him about the game of basketball and the basics of the sport, including how to dribble.

Bol told the group of SDSU students about his first time dunking a basketball.

“When I dunked the ball, my tooth was caught in the net,” he said.

Bol started practicing for three hours each morning and three each night. He gradually became a better player, and was soon spotted by an American college basketball recruiter. Bol made the decision to come to the United States and play basketball for the University of Philadelphia.

Basketball is not the only issue that Bol came to talk about. He also addressed current problems affecting the people of his native country and how people in America take educational opportunities for granted.

There has been a brutal war going on in southern Sudan for over 22 years.

Like many others, Bol has suffered tremendous losses because of the brewing war. He’s lost several relatives to the violence in the country.

“You guys don’t know how good your country is,” said Bol.

He told audience members how young children in southern Sudan are fighting in a war and have no educational opportunities.

Kimberly Iverson, a freshman from Anchorage, Alaska, said she came to hear Bol speak because she thought it would be interesting.

When asked what she thought of the program, Iverson said “[SDSU] should keep doing [similar programs] … they get more exposure to students.”

Beau VanBeek was also in attendance.

“It’s cool. It’s a good way to bring in students,” he said.

VanBeek didn’t really follow Bol’s career.

“I just knew he was tall.”

Third-year civil engineering major and Sudan native Daniel Gai attended the program as well. Gai came to the US in 2001 because of the war in Sudan.

Gai said that having Bol lecture was a good way to educate students about the war in southern Sudan.

He also said many students can relate to Bol and the problems of his country. A growing number of young people from Sudan and the surrounding countries are coming to SDSU to acquire an education.

Rozhyer Aware, program advisor for multicultural affairs, said that the program was a success and the multicultural affairs department hopes to bring similar programs to campus.

#1.885192:3866901329.jpg:manuteboljerry.jpg:Bol was on campus last week to talk about the war in Sudan and his career. :