Messages of congratulations are pouring in from all over the world for South African business executive Saray N’kusi Khumalo, who yesterday became the first black African woman to scale and reach the top of Mount Everest.
At 8840m above sea level, Everest is the highest and most prominent mountain on Earth.
Almost 300 people have died trying to climb it.
Born in Zambia, with a Rwandan bloodline and now a South African, Khumalo achieved her goal of becoming the first black woman from Africa to summit Everest after four attempts.
On social media, Khumalo was trending at number one, with many prominent and ordinary individuals congratulating her.
Khumalo had to be rescued from Everest by helicopter during her previous attempt to summit in 2017, after she was injured during inclement weather.
After being on Everest during both the Serac fall in 2014 and the earthquake in 2015, she reached the south summit in 2017.
Through perseverance, grit and courage, she decided to return to the mountain this year.
During this expedition, she was supported by the Dr Thandi Ndlovu Foundation.
Sport and Recreation Minister Tokozile Xasa said Khumalo’s unwavering dedication to reach the summit of Everest served as an inspiration to all, and was an embodiment of the spirit of Womandla, which resonated with continuing determination to achieve in spite of challenging circumstances.
Khumalo’s achievement, which she dedicated to “the ordinary women, girls and daughters of the African soil who dare to dream”, comes at a time when the Department of Sport is organising a national workshop roadshow aimed at engaging communities on issues hampering women and sport through the Women and Sport Policy workshops.
The next Women and Sport Policy workshop, which will give input to the Women in Sport draft policy, is taking place today in Gauteng.
Xasa said Khumalo had proved that indeed the dream of any African child was valid and that it was possible to achieve.
In 2012, Khumalo summited Mt Kilimanjaro and in the process raised funds for the Lunchbox Fund.
Her mountaineering passion took hold and she embarked on a journey to climb the highest peak on each continent, not for herself, but for the education of African children.
She summited Mt Elbrus in 2014 and Mt Aconcagua in 2015.
Khumalo became a Nelson Mandela Libraries ambassador and raised nearly R1million for school libraries.