Saray N’kusi Khumalo became the first black African woman to scale Mount Everest on Thursday. Photo: Summits with a Purpose/Facebook

President Cyril Ramaphosa has praised Saray N’kusi Khumalo for becoming the first black African woman to summit Mount Everest on Thursday.

Khumalo, a business executive in Johannesburg and a mother of two boys, climbed the mountain on Thursday, and is already on her way back down.

“A short while ago, Saray N’kusi Khumalo reached the top of the world. With her birth in Zambia, Rwandan bloodline and now a South African, this sister of Africa has achieved her goal of becoming the first black woman from Africa to summit Mount Everest,” the Summits With A Purpose organisation said on their Facebook page when announcing Khumalo’s achievement.

“In 2012, Saray summitted Mt Kilimanjaro and in the process raised funds for the Lunchbox Fund. The mountaineering passion took hold and she embarked on a journey to climb the highest peak on each continent, not for herself but the education of African children.

“She summitted Mt Elbrus in 2014 and Mt Aconcagua in 2015. She became a Nelson Mandela Libraries ambassador and raised nearly R1m for school libraries.

“After being on Everest during both the serac fall (2014) and the earthquake (2015), she reached the south summit in 2017.

“Through pure perseverance, grit and courage she decided to return to Mt Everest in 2019. During this expedition, she supports the Dr Thandi Ndlovu Foundation.”

Ramaphosa led the well wishes from Mzansi.

“Saray N’kusi Khumalo is the first African woman to summit Mount Everest, in support of her cause of promoting access to education for African children,” the President posted on Twitter.

“She reminds us that through courage and perseverance, we can achieve our highest ambitions, for the greater good of humanity.”

Sports Minister Tokozile Xasa added that Khumalo was an inspirational figure.

“It excites us that Saray achieved this great feat. Her achievement is a further amplifier that women are capable of doing anything. As society, ours is to provide a conducive environment for them to succeed,” Xasa said in a statement.

“Saray’s never-say-die attitude is inspirational. No matter how many times she fell, she kept rising.

“This must serve as a lesson to many people, that no matter how many times you fall, you must always rise and march forward.”

@ashfakmohamed


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