Jimnah Kimani David: promoting diversity through sports | Aga Khan Academies

Jimnah Kimani David: promoting diversity through sports

“I think one of the biggest assets the Academy has is the diverse cultural background in the student body. Having players coming from all over the world from so many walks of life adds a unique element to playing as a team.”

Coach Jimnah Kimani At the Aga Khan Academy (AKA) Mombasa, Jimnah Kimani David wears a lot of different hats. He is the administrative assistant to the vice principal Diploma Progamme, the assistant sports coordinator, as well as a year 6 mentor. However, he is probably best known on campus in his capacity as the open boys’ basketball team coach. 

Early in his life, Jimnah had never planned to coach a high school basketball team. “I was originally going to go into accounting,” he said. “I later realised I wanted to work with people, and more importantly, with children, which is why I decided to go into education.”

However, he was not entirely inexperienced in his capacity as a basketball coach. Before he graduated in 1999, Jimnah had already begun helping out his high school basketball coach at Mombasa Baptist High School. He was initially taken on as an informal translator for their Texan coach, Stan Littleford, but he quickly became a valuable mentor and role model for the younger players on the team. From then, he grew from strength to strength, eventually leading his team to win two national titles as a player, and one as a coach in 2007.

His stellar coaching skills did not go unnoticed. In the 2012–2013 off-season, Jimnah was approached to take on a role coaching the AKA Mombasa open boys’ basketball team. “I felt I had proven myself as a coach with Mombasa Baptist. But they are an established, well-known basketball school. I relished the challenge of taking on a fresh team and starting with them from scratch.”

Jimnah joined the Academy in August 2012. He had learned about the school from his brother Charles Mwangi Waweru, who attended the Academy and graduated in 2009. “What drew me to the institution was the commitment the Academy had to providing facilities for excellent education to students from all backgrounds,” he reflects.

Coach Jimnah Kimani (far right) with the AKA Mombasa open boys' basketball teamAs a coach at the Academy, he took an eclectic team of inexperienced players and whipped them into shape to become regional champions. Some of his students had never played the game before, but under Coach Kimani’s tutelage and grueling training, they have grown to work as a team and be viewed as contenders on a national stage against teams from schools with long careers in basketball prestige.
 
However, Jimnah is quick to acknowledge what this position has meant for him. “My time at the Academy has been very rewarding, especially with regard to my own self-management and personal growth.” Indeed, juggling so many responsibilities and within such different arenas of school life has made Jimnah a great role model for the holistic development encouraged in the students. His incredible feat of beating his own five-year plan for the basketball team and having them crowned regional champions after three years at the Academy speaks volumes about his commitment to the team.
 
Jimnah is currently pursuing a qualification in physical health education from Kenyatta University. He has completed one year of his course online and is looking forward to gaining his degree as well as building his work experience while he continues to work at the Academy.

By Sarra Sheikh