A trek to keep girls in school

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - TEBOGO MONAMA

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.

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