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zansi celebri­ties and lead­ing busi­ness per­son­al­i­ties will at­tempt to sum­mit Mount Kil­i­man­jaro in sup­port of im­pov­er­ished girls.

They will be­gin climb­ing on July 14 and hope­fully reach its sum­mit on Madiba’s birth­day on July 18.

This is in sup­port of Trek4Man­dela, an ini­tia­tive that aims to sup­ply san­i­tary tow­els to school­girls to en­sure their school­ing is not in­ter­rupted by the lack of this ne­ces­sity.

The chief ex­ec­u­tive of the Nel­son Man­dela Foun­da­tion, Sello Hatang, says the main idea be­hind the ini­tia­tive is to keep girls in school.

They had ini­tially planned to take only 27 “am­bas­sadors” up Mount Kil­i­man­jaro – the num­ber rep­re­sents the num­ber of years the for­mer pres­i­dent spent in prison. How­ever, they were over­whelmed by the num­ber of peo­ple who wanted to par­tic­i­pate.

“We still hope that at least 27 will make it to the sum­mit,” he grins.

To pre­pare for the big day, the par­tic­i­pants have been climb­ing the Drak­ens­berg moun­tains to build up the stamina and strength they will need to con­quer Mount Kil­i­man­jaro.

“All of us are so com­mit­ted. There are peo­ple who will also be run­ning. The big thing be­hind it is that it is also for the im­por­tance of your health,” he says.

He adds: “The schools we are choos­ing are in far-flung ar­eas where there are hardly any ser­vices. We want to give hope to the hope­less.”

Tebogo ‘ProVerb’ Thek­isho

Pop­u­lar rap­per and Idols pre­sen­ter ProVerb is not new to moun­tain climb­ing. This year, he will be climb­ing for the sec­ond time in sup­port of the Trek4Man­dela ini­tia­tive. He climbed Mount Kil­i­man­jaro for the same cause last year. He says climb­ing is dif­fer­ent ev­ery time. Thek­isho says he is do­ing this again be­cause it is a “gen­uine and in­cred­i­ble” ini­tia­tive that makes a dif­fer­ence in the lives of girls.

“This year, the tar­get is so great. We are tak­ing a dif­fer­ent route,” he says. “Phys­i­o­log­i­cally, I’m ready,” he adds.

Two weeks ago, ProVerb and other Trek4Man­dela am­bas­sadors climbed the Drak­ens­berg in prepa­ra­tion for the big day.

He has also been tak­ing walks to pre­pare him­self. His ad­vice to the new climbers is to keep calm and take it slowly.

“Kil­i­man­jaro is per­son­alised dif­fer­ently for ev­ery­one,” he adds.

Mpho ‘Mo-G’ Madise

Ra­dio per­son­al­ity Mpho “Mo-G” Madise of Kaya FM has been hit­ting the streets to pre­pare for Trek4Man­dela by hand­ing out stick­ers to make peo­ple aware of the ini­tia­tive.

“We will be go­ing up Kil­i­man­jaro from July 14 to raise funds for san­i­tary tow­els for girls. Girls miss out on 15 days of school, 15 days of not hav­ing a ba­sic need, which is san­i­tary tow­els,” he says.

Madise is ex­cited and has put in a lot of work to pre­pare for the gru­elling climb.

“I’ve done the Drak­ens­berg a cou­ple of times. We did the West­cliff Steps, which is not easy.

“It’s such a great ini­tia­tive. Ob­vi­ously, I had to have my hand twisted as it was not easy for me to de­cide to go up Kil­i­man­jaro, but I was even­tu­ally con­vinced and am re­ally look­ing for­ward to it,” he says.

Madise had to make a few ad­just­ments here and there, and it had not been easy to pre­pare for the climb. The end re­sult is what keeps him mo­ti­vated.

“At the end of the day, we are do­ing it for the girls,” he says.

Maya Makan­jee

The chief of­fi­cer of cor­po­rate af­fairs at Vo­da­com, Maya Makan­jee, says she only de­cided a few weeks ago that she wanted to be part of the Trek4Man­dela cam­paign.

“I’m only do­ing this to make a dif­fer­ence in young girls’ lives. Man­dela cam­paigned to raise aware­ness and, as a woman, I need to stand up for these girls be­cause they are afraid to voice their chal­lenges,” she says.

She says what makes her sad is that many girls can’t go to school be­cause they don’t have san­i­tary tow­els. “What about their dig­nity?” she asks. Speak­ing about the climb, she says: “Six days

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