Brother-sister basketeers grateful to UJ for sport, academic success

Congolese internationals and talented basketeers Manasse and Deborah Kabasele (brother and sister) are grateful to the University of Johannesburg (UJ) for their sport and academic success in recent years. The two basketball players have represented UJ in various local and continental competitions, winning gold medals.

Manasse recently submitted his Master’s degree thesis in Electronic and Electrical Engineering at UJ while his sister completed an Advanced Diploma in Real Estate at the same institution. Deborah is graduating on 22 March 2023 while her brother awaits the outcome of his submission from the supervisor.

Manasse and Deborah, who hail from the Democratic Republic of Congo, are UJ basketball bursary students who have conquered not just their studies, but their opponents in tournaments such as the Gauteng Basketball League, 10th All Africa University Games, University Sport South Africa (USSA) championships and other highly rated championships in South Africa and Kenya.

Manasse was one of the first UJ groups that won the 2022 African Student Games at Kenyatta University in Nairobi.

With his qualification and overachieving nature, he is now working as an electrical engineer and tutors students while doing photography. He also works as a French language trainer.

“My journey at UJ wasn’t easy, juggling between school, sport and extracurricular activities required me to be disciplined and manage my time well,” says Deborah.


               Deborah Kabasele                                                                                                                 Manasse Kabasele

Manasse adds, “As an athlete, the beginning was very tough, it was very challenging for me as a student-athlete because I didn’t know how to speak English when I arrived at UJ, but it was such a great opportunity for me to learn.

Imagine living in an environment where everyone speaks English and not French and I had to speak to my classmates and fellow players.  In less than a year, I became fluent and I was also able to have good academic results,” he says.

Their father, a basketball player and coach, inspired the duo.

They both value education and sport. Education plays a big role in the pursuit of success, they say, and playing basketball is another way to stay physically and mentally fit. “So, the two complement each other,” explains Manasse.

“I play basketball to have a good work-life balance. “With all the things that I am doing in my life, to stay organised, it is nice to just actually escape at some moments and basketball literally is that sport that I need to keep focused. It is good for my mental health,” says Manasse.

Deborah, who wants to be a property investor, encourages student-athletes to work hard, set targets for themselves, and focus on their objectives. Manasse also encourages those who do not have their lives and future figured out to focus on executing their responsibilities diligently.

“Don’t worry too much about how your life is going to turn out, just take care of your responsibilities right now. Excel in whatever sphere you are at the moment, the future will take care of itself,” he says.

Among its accolades, the UJ Basketball Club was crowned champions in the 2022 Inner City Super League (ICSL) on Sunday, 29 May 2022.

The UJ Basketball Club is set to play Wits University, University of Pretoria and Wanderers Scorpions on Friday 17, Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 March 2023. All games will be held at the Wits University Hall 29A at 12, 5 and 8:30 pm.

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