Adventurer Sibusiso Vilane is ready to conquer Mount Kilimanjaro again, this time for the Trek4Mandela expedition. He is one of 67 climbers taking part in Trek4 Mandela. Picture: Shelley Kjonstad/African News Agency (ANA)
Durban -Three days before leaving with a group of more than 40 people to conquer Mount Kilimanjaro, renowned South African adventurer Sibusiso Vilane spoke to the Daily News about the expedition to raise funds and awareness with regard to access to sanitary pads for young girls.

The 2018 expedition aimed to raise funds to help ensure that 500000 girls did not miss a day of school by providing them with much needed sanitary pads.

Vilane, a father of three girls and a boy, has been part of the initiative since its inception seven years ago. He said: “Girls need to be in school when they (have) their periods. The expedition uses a mountain as the resource to make a noise about the challenge faced by girls.”

To prepare climbers for the expedition, Vilane said both individual and group training sessions had been held in the Drakensberg over the past six months.

He leaves tomorrow for Tanzania and the climb is expected to start on Saturday. “It takes five days to climb up and two days to climb down the mountain,” he said.

With conditions expected to be cold, he has advised his fellow climbers to invest in quality socks and gloves because even though Mount Kilimanjaro is not the most chilly mountain, climbers usually get cold hands and feet.

The adventurer, who is known for his love of climbing the world’s highest peaks, is also the patron of the Nature, Environment and Wildlife Filmmakers (Newf) Congress, which will be held at the Durban Botanic Gardens from July 16 to 18.

Noel Kok, Newf programme director and co-founder, said Vilane was chosen as their patron because: “He does things (in conservation and wildlife film-making) that would normally be thought to be for white people. We are humbled that he agreed to be our patron, and hope that it will encourage young Africans to be involved and change their mindsets regarding wildlife, nature and conservation.”

The congress will include filmmakers, scientists and members of the public, who will discuss how Africans can tell African stories.

Vilane said that what Mandela had told him at their meeting in 2003 had lingered in his mind: “(He) said I had set a high standard for Africans to do the impossible. That’s why I could never stop doing what I do.”

Daily News