Media Release: Statement on the passing of Gugu Zulu
Date: 18 July 2016
From: Nelson Mandela Foundation
It is with a heavy heart that we announce that one of the climbers on the Trek4Mandela, Gugu Zulu, lost his life early this morning in his attempt to summit Kilimanjaro.
On behalf of the Board and staff of the Nelson Mandela Foundation, we extend our sincere condolences to his wife Letshego Zulu, their daughter Lelethu and the Zulu family on this tragic loss.
Details are sketchy. What we do know is that Gugu experienced problems breathing. The medical team supporting the trek put him on a drip and they descended the mountain with him. We are informed that the medical teams tried everything possible to save his life.
Gugu was climbing Kilimanjaro with his wife Letshego and we understand that they descended the mountain together with Richard Mabaso, the project leader, and the medical teams. The team was led by experienced mountaineer Sibusiso Vilane.
Sello Hatang, CEO of the Nelson Mandela Foundation, said, “I'm devastated. I knew him well. I recruited him to climb Kilimanjaro. The last thing he said to me at the airport before he left last week was that he wanted to speak about doing other Mandela Day projects. I feel a huge sense of loss.”
This was Gugu’s last post on his Facebook page on 16 July:
“Made it though (sic) day2. My wife is doing fabulous, she has even learnt the local language. Am having flu like symptoms and struggling with the mountain but taking it step by step!! Today we managed to see our destination and our camp is literary above the clouds!!”
The Nelson Mandela Foundation will share more information once we get further details from Tanzania.
The climbers were due to summit Kilimanjaro today, for Mandela Day.