How the Edenvale Lions Basketball Academy uses sport to change young lives

The Edenvale Lions Basketball Academy (ELBA) founded by Play Your Part ambassadors Edson Makavan and Byron Pinheiro, has over the past few years brought together young people from diverse backgrounds – who often have limited opportunities – to live out their passion on the basketball court.

It all began when Makavan and Pinheiro identified the opportunity that sports presents for community development and nation building. The two basketball players and coaches established ELBA in 2013 with the aim of bringing change in the lives of young people from across the country. The organisation comes from humble beginnings, having had to practice and play on other clubs’ courts for years. In 2016, the founders set a goal to build a court to call home, this dream was achieved, and a new home court was unveiled in 2019. The club facility is available for use by non-members of ELBA (on appointment) and this has benefitted the Ekurhuleni community at large.

On Saturday 15 May, ELBA had a send-off for two star players, 18-year olds Samu Radebe and Luke Bondono, who have signed with Westlake Preparatory School and Academy in Florida, America. Also known as the ‘Home of the Bulldogs’, the institution is renowned for its excellent academic and sport offering.

The achievement by Radebe and Bondono is testament to the work that ELBA does in mentoring and preparing youngsters for life’s challenges and opportunities. Brand South Africa wishes them well on the new chapter of their lives. We have no doubt that you will do the country proud.

Makavan and Pinheiro are currently self-funding ELBA with the support of stakeholders in the public and private sector. Visit for more information on how you can play your part in changing lives.

About Brand South Africa

Brand South Africa is the official marketing agency of South Africa, with a mandate to build the country’s brand reputation, in order to improve its global competitiveness. Its aim is also to build pride and patriotism among South Africans, in order to contribute to social cohesion and nation brand ambassadorship.

About Play Your Part

Play Your Part is a nationwide programme created to inspire, empower and celebrate active citizenship in South Africa.  It aims to lift the spirit of our nation by inspiring all South Africans to contribute to positive change, become involved and start doing. A nation of people who care deeply for one another and the environment in which they live is good for everyone.

Play Your Part is aimed at all South Africans – from corporates and individuals, NGOs and government, churches and schools, from the young to the not-so-young.  It aims to encourage South Africans to use some of their time, money, skills or goods to contribute to a better future for all.