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Saray Khumalo: First black African woman to conquer Everest

THE CLIMB: Mount Everest

SARAY KHUMALO has made history, as she became the first black woman from Africa to reach the top of Mount Everest.
The South African completed her climb to the top of the world’s highest point on the early hours of Thursday morning (May 16).

Khumalo’s passion for mountaineering began in 2012 when she submitted Mt Kilimanjaro and raised funds for the Lunchbox Fund. From there, she decided to climb the highest peak on each continent on behalf of education for African children. She conquered Mt Elbrus in 2014 and Mt Aconcagua in 2015.

However, this was the mountaineer's fourth attempt at climbing Mount Everest and her first time reaching the top.

Her most recent attempt was in 2017, where the climber claim close to achieving her dreams but quit just 100m from the summit. She had to be rescued by a helicopter after she was injured during inclement weather.

Despite past failures, Khumalo remain motivated and has become an inspiration for climbers and for black climbers specifically.

Taking to social media, many praised the businesswoman for her historic feat, including South African president Cyril Ramaphosa.

“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, Ramaphosa tweeted.

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

Khumalo launched an initiative, 7 Summits with a purpose, an initiative that raises money for underprivileged schools through her climbing.

On the organisation website, she says:“My dream is to go higher and go further for as long as I breathe. To pave a way for my children and other ordinary people, so we may realise and accept that ordinary people like us can achieve extraordinary heights.

“To not think too much about the difficulties on the way but keep focused on the end goal and to take their hand, motivate them to realise that they too may dream the impossible dream.”
Less than 5,000 people have managed to summit Everest since Edmund Hilary made history by becoming the first person to do so in 1953.

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