Fit, 40, and on top of the world
THE best way to make your husband jealous is to give yourself a gift that has been on both of your wish lists – before he does!
This is what Joburg resident Petunia Mashatola found out when she decided to climb Mount Kilimanjaro for her 40th birthday next month.
Mashatola decided to celebrate her birthday by making a difference with the Trek4Mandela team and help raise funds for schoolgirls to allow them to stay at school.
“Doing Kilimanjaro is one of my presents since I am turning 40.
“My husband and I have always planned to do it together, but we decided that I will do it this year for my birthday and he will go next year.
“He is so jealous right now!” Mashatola said.
She started hiking with her husband, Peter, in 2010 and has been hooked ever since. But her big love is cycling, she says, adding that “I have been cycling for the past five years with my husband”.
She has since done the gruelling 106km Amashova Durban Classic Cycle race. Next year, she plans to enter and complete the 109km Cape Town Cycle Tour.
Mashatola, who is an avid Mini Cooper fan, is part of the Soweto Miniacs Club which raises funds during Nelson Mandela Month every year.
So, joining the Trek4Mandela group was a natural progression for her.
“Going to Kilimanjaro is a thing I have always wanted to do.
“Doing it with the Imbumba Foundation is a bonus for me, because I will also be doing it for a good cause,” Mashatola said.
The Lesotho-born Mashatola is helping raise funds for young girls at Lintsa Primary School in her home country. “We all have to work hard to ensure that young girls – especially those in rural areas – stay at school.
“I have a young daughter and I want her and her peers to have the same opportunities as boys.
“I believe in helping other people. Growing up in a rural area made me value life and also understand that my purpose in life is to live harmoniously within society.
“I believe in charity work and to give back to people more disadvantaged than I am. I am taking part in Trek4Mandela to spread love to all the young girls, teach them a healthy lifestyle and to stay fit,” Mashatola said.
She said while growing up in Lesotho, she used to walk long distances to school. She would like to help young girls overcome as many barriers as possible.
“I used to walk to school under difficult circumstances that taught me to really appreciate life and have respect for each and every person irrespective of creed and colour,” Mashatola said.
To train, she cycles at least 108km at weekends and hikes as often as she can.
“During the week I go to the Rand Stadium track to train. I also go on as many hikes as I can,” she said.
Mashatola said she had always been adventurous so attempting Kilimanjaro came naturally.
She has been skiing, jumped off the Bloukrans Bridge – the highest bungee jump from a bridge in the world – and done several hiking trails across the country.
She said her adventures were a way to travel the world. “Travelling the world gives me an opportunity to appreciate people living in different circumstances and I normally come back refreshed and eager to better my life.”
Lesotho-born climber wants to help young girls back home
To help Petunia raise funds, send an SMS to 42513 to donate R30.
BIRTHDAY GIRL: Petunia Mashatola, above and far right, is one of the climbers going up Mount Kilimanjaro in an effort to raise funds for schoolgirls.