The Nelson Mandela Foundation in partnership with Imbumba Foundation welcomed back the second Trek4Mandela expedition team that conquered Mount Kilimanjaro, reaching the summit on Women’s Day.
The expedition consisted of media personalities, former public protector Professor Thuli Madonsela, Nelson Mandela Foundation CEO Sello Hatang, and expedition leader Sibusiso Vilane.
The theme of their expedition was Climbing for Dignity and Social Justice, highlighting the uphill battles young girls from impoverished communities face and raised funds to provide sanitary products and the support programme for young girls under the Imbumba Foundation’s Caring4Girls initiative.
Reflecting on the climb up the continent’s highest peak, Professor Thuli Madonsela shared the following:
“The biggest lessons were by far conquering the mountain within us, and realizing the strength and courage one can muster when focusing on the commitments we made to serve these girls in order for them to be able to conquer their own mountains.”
Hatang shared Madonsela’s sentiments, adding that he is grateful that the whole team has returned home safely. This comes after two team members fell ill and were hospitalised due to high altitude related sickness.
“It was tough but it was worth it, every moment in that mountain was special and we felt each other’s warm heart and how we were trying our best to build this country we want, that cares about the vulnerable, that cares about those who need our help,” he said.
SABC News editor and climber Ndundu Sithole could not contain her tears, seeing the people that had come out to welcome them back home. “I’m overwhelmed; this is a journey I thought was impossible,” she said crying.
Apart from the joy, hugs and tears they were met with upon landing, President Cyril Ramaphosa took to Twitter to give them a warm welcome, congratulating the team on their successful summit aimed at raising funds that will ensure that girls do not miss school due to a lack of access to sanitary pads.
“We applaud you for your efforts and affirm your success in this endeavour,” his message on Twitter read.
Since its inception, the initiative has helped reach more than 750 000 girls and now in its eighth year, the aim is to reach one million girls, holding fast to the commitment to ensuring that girls are not shut out of education.
The Foundation would like to congratulate the team that was daring enough to confront the Kilimanjaro of life to empower the girl child and commemorate Women’s Day.