This year’s Trek4Mandela climb up Mount Kilimanjaro will not only pay tribute to the legacy of President Nelson Mandela but also to the late Gugu Zulu.
Race car driver and adventure enthusiast Zulu died last year on Africa’s highest peak while trying to summit so as to raise funds to keep girls in schools by buying them sanitary pads. Zulu was on the expedition with his wife Letshego.
This year, the Imbumba Foundation and the Nelson Mandela Foundation have organised the expedition, which is scheduled for next month, in honour of Zulu. The climb is themed #Climb4Gugu.
The team had their last training session in the Drakensberg mountains this weekend.
Letshego has decided to go back to the mountain again, despite last year’s tragedy.
“From the moment the emergency services were called and we had to descend, I decided there and then that I had to do it again. I knew already that I needed to complete the journey,” she said.
“I’m going back to do something Gugu and I were passionate about as a couple.” Letshego also has a burning ambition: to go back to conquer Africa’s highest mountain.
“I want to complete it for myself as well. What a great cause to climb for. It was a special cause for Gugu and me, especially as parents to a young daughter, Lelethu,” she said.
Richard Mabaso from the Imbumba Foundation echoed the sentiment. “We owe it to Gugu to make sure this is successful. He always said he had a daughter and that’s why he was part of the cause. We have to make sure that his daughter and other girls are catered for.”
On Kilimanjaro being perceived as dangerous after last year’s trip, Letshego said: “Life is dangerous. You need to decide for yourself what is dangerous to you.”
On whether this year’s climb will be harder for her, Letshego said: “I want it to be an amazing experience. I want to remember Kili, both climbs.
"Of course there’ll be sad moments, and those are expected. Crying every day is okay but we still have to find the joy in everyday things.”
To help Letshego raise funds to keep girls in school, please text “AdventureCouple” to 43513.