Climbing any mountain is a daunting task, an aspirational one for many people. Climbing mount Everest is a deadly aspiration. Some have attempted to reach its peak but never lived to share the stories.
Introducing, Saray Khumalo, the first black African woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest, with an elevation of 8,848m.
This is the fourth attempt by Khumalo, in previous attempts she faced unfavorable weather conditions. In 2014 during her first attempt, an avalanche killed 16 Nepalese Sherpa guides. Sherpa is one of the ethnic groups native to the most mountainous regions of Nepal and the Himalayas, their skills in mountaineering is also a source of livelihood.
The resilient Zambia-born Johannesburg resident made another unsuccessful attempt in 2015; this time it was thwarted by an earthquake in Nepal. In 2017 she went as high as the south summit of mount Everest but discontinued due to strong winds and frostbite.
According to a message on Facebook by Summits with a Purpose – an initiative that was started by Saray Khumalo – Saray is still in the death zone though she is safely below the south summit. It will take two more days for her arrival at the Base Camp.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa reacted to Khumalo’s achievement on Twitter.
“Khumalo is the first African woman to summit Mount Everest, in support of her cause of promoting access to education for African children,”
“She reminds us that through courage and perseverance, we can achieve our highest ambitions.”
Khumalo writes on her website: “My dream is to go higher and go further for as long as I breathe. To pave a way for my children and other ordinary people so we may realize and accept that ordinary people like us can achieve extraordinary heights. To not think too much about the difficulties on the way but keep focused on the end goal and to take their hand, motivate them to realize that they too may dream the impossible dream.”
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