Fit, 40, and on top of the world

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - TEBOGO MONAMA tebogo.monama@inl.co.za

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.

PIC­TURES: SUP­PLIED

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.

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