A trek to keep girls in school
TWENTY-six-year-old Yvette Mashego prides herself on being the youngest member of the Trek4Mandela expedition.
“I am always the youngest person wherever I go,” she jokes.
The fitness fanatic says conquering the highest peak in Africa has always been on her long bucket list, which includes items like going to the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in the US, and running the Comrades and Two Oceans marathons.
Every year, Mashego ticks off things on her list. Last year she went to Egypt with a group of friends. And this year, she is going to Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.
Other than ticking off items on her bucket list, Mashego was attracted to the philanthropic element of tackling the peak with the Imbumba Foundation.
“Supporting a ‘keeping girls in schools’ initiative means ensuring that the next mathematician or next Nobel Prize winner will stay in school. My ‘whys’ in life is to make a difference and inspire others to take up the challenge as well; we can all make a difference daily,” Mashego stresses.
To prepare for the hike, the financial planner from Centurion hikes, does trail running and marathons, and boxing.
She says it has been challenging but exciting having to balance her training and studying her second year in Bachelor of Commerce in marketing management. But she is up to the challenge. “It is important to try to make a difference in society and still live a full and happy life,” Mashego says.
Another thing that will not stop her from taking on this expedition and her other fitness and exercise goals is her bronchitis. “My bronchitis is controlled so that is not a problem. I take care of myself, there are certain foods that I don’t eat like dairy. I also need a nebuliser and an inhaler,” Mashego says.
Instead of being afraid, she is looking forward to seeing what the mountain has in store for her. “I am looking forward to being challenged. I am also very happy about the friendships that have been built so far. We are a family and we will be able to be successful together,” she says.
The trip is also about teamwork.
“It will be great to reach the peak together. We would have carried each other. Every step I take on the mountain will not be for me but for everybody. This is most importantly about paying it forward,” Mashego adds.
She adds that after Kilimanjaro, there will be no time to rest. In November, she will participate in the Soweto Marathon as a way to qualify for next year’s Comrades.
To assist Mashego to keep girls in school, text “Yvette” to 42513 and pledge R30.
ON A MISSION: Yvette Mashego is part of the Trek4Mandela group preparing to tackle Kilimanjaro.