On Wednesday 21 August 2019, the Nelson Mandela Foundation, in partnership with Jacana Media, hosted a conversation book review with Letshego Zulu, the author of I Choose to Live: Life After Losing Gugu, alongside the chief executives of the Nelson Mandela and Imbumba foundations, Sello Hatang and Richard Mabaso respectively, facilitated by news anchor and journalist, Cathy Mohlahlana.
The book pays homage to her late husband, Gugu Zulu, who passed away on the 2016 Trek4Mandela expedition up Mount Kilimanjaro, and documents her choice to live after losing her life partner and the father of their child.
The heart-wrenching conversation detailed the tragedy of Letshego coming back with her husband deceased, a period she says turned her life upside down to the point where she sometimes struggled to get out of bed.
Letshego explained that, after the funeral, she felt like society tried to dictate how she should mourn the death of her husband and, during those moments, she would remember his words.
“Gugu always used to say ‘We all came into this world alone, and we will depart alone, so always take care of yourself first and foremost’,” she shared.
Sello Hatang spoke about Gugu’s legacy and his plans to climb Kilimanjaro twice in 2020 in honour of Gugu’s memory.
“We share something common with the Zulu family in the sense that the day that Madiba was born is the day that Gugu passed and as a result, their legacies are tied together forever, and we have no choice but to always honour him,” Hatang said.
Richard Mabaso announced that the Nelson Mandela Foundation and Imbumba Foundation will host a hike in the Drakensburg in November 2019 in honour of Gugu and all the proceeds will go towards the Gugu Zulu Foundation and his daughter’s education.
Speaking about her plans for the future, Letshego says she is open to life’s experiences. “Sometimes, when we plan for the future we miss out on the present. For me, it’s just being open to life, open to the possibilities and opportunities. I’m living life to the full like Gugu Zulu did,” she shared.