Something to Ponder

Saray Nkusi Khumalo
Saray Nkusi Khumalo

Breaking Free of The Mould

We are as strong as our weakest thought is something Saray N’kusi Khumalo has this week reminded us. We as South Africans and Africans as a whole are proud of our girl who has proven that determination and dedication work hand in hand with a strong sense of purpose and conviction to attain whatever goal we care to set ourselves.

After conquering Mount Kilimanjaro in 2012, Mount Elbrus in 2014 and Mount Aconcagua in 2015, Saray set her eyes on the highest mountain in the world, Mount Everest. It was not victory at the first or second attempt. It took four such attempts for her to finally stand tall and raise the South African flag on top of the world literary!

On Thursday morning, South Africa woke to the exciting news of a fellow South African woman who had summited Mount Everest.  eNCA reported that Saray had on the early hours of Thursday reached the top of the mountain having climbed to the top of the world’s highest peak, is 8,848 metres above sea level. With this conquest, she became not only the first South African woman to do so, but, the first black woman to reach the top of Mount Everest.

Her motivation? Helping others. Saray uses her mountaineering career to help raise funds for others who need help. In 2012 when she summited Mount Kilimanjaro, the money she raised was for the Lunch Box Fund. As a Nelson Mandela Libraries ambassador, she raised almost 1million Rands for school libraries through mountain climbing. The Mount Everest climb is set to raise funds in support of the Dr. Thandi Ndlovu Foundation.

Mount Everest was not going to give Saray victory on a platter. The obstacles she encountered were enough to discourage even the most seasoned of climbers, but not this South African lady. In 2014, she was stopped when an avalanche hit Nepal and her second attempt in 2015 was cut short by an earthquake. Not one to give up easily, Saray went back in 2017 only to fall when she was within 100 vertical metres of the summit. The exposure resulted in frostbite and she had to be airlifted to hospital. 2018, she was back again and this time, even the tallest mountain in the world could not stop her.

South Africans, old and young have a lot to learn from this lady. First of all, she is not idle that she takes on mountain climbing to kill time. No, she is a business executive, who has decided that she can do more to help others and at great cost to herself, she has set goals and gone out and done whatever it takes to achieve them. Saray is reported to have set herself the goal of summiting the tallest mountain in each continent. Having just conquered the most formidable of all, is there one that she cannot climb?

Well done Saray, you have made us proud!

Lucy Thairu