Lo­cal singer joins Trek4Man­dela

Love for na­ture and char­ity work spurs Aya on

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - NOKUTHULA ZWANE nokuthula.zwane@inl.co.za

AC­TRESS and singer Ayanda Mpama is putting her celebrity sta­tus to good use, hav­ing joined other lo­cal moun­tain climb­ing en­thu­si­asts who will be tak­ing part in the an­nual Trek4Man­dela Kil­i­man­jaro climb in July.

On Sun­day, Aya, as she is com­monly known, in­vited close fam­ily and friends to a fundrais­ing event in Four­ways.

Mpama said the trek was ex­pen­sive and asked any­one who can af­ford to pledge a do­na­tion.

As a per­form­ing artist, Mpama en­ter­tained guests with some songs, pro­vid­ing mo­ti­va­tion for why they should do­nate for her trip. The 33-year-old said she was ex­cited about the Trek4Man­dela climb and had of­fi­cially started her train­ing in Fe­bru­ary.

She said she had al­ways been an ac­tive per­son but was aware of the in­ten­sity of a moun­tain climb. “I’ve al­ways been into fit­ness and I’m an ac­tive per­son, do­ing boot camps, yoga and spin­ning classes.

“But do­ing uKhahlam­baDrak­ens­berg Park was quite hec­tic. At some point you are lit­er­ally rock climb­ing… which was very chal­leng­ing,” said Mpama.

Her train­ing sched­ule varies as she takes on the West­cliff stairs three times a week and some­times over the week­end at the Drak­ens­berg moun­tains.

She de­cided to join the Trek4Man­dela cam­paign be­cause of her de­sire for self-in­tro­spec­tion and her love for na­ture and char­ity work.

“I have al­ways had a thing for moun­tains and na­ture. In fact my favourite place in the whole world to go to is the Drak­ens­berg. When I was young we would go there all the time for school trips. I have al­ways felt re­ally happy and peace­ful there,” she said.

“This year I was tak­ing stock of where my life is at, what I want to do etc. In terms of what I have done and what I have not done. I asked my­self, okay, Ayanda what are the things you haven’t done that you have al­ways wanted to do? And the first thing was Kil­i­man­jaro.”

Re­flect­ing on the tra­vails of last year’s Trek4Man­dela team, who had rac­ing driver Gugu Zulu’s death to con­tend with, Mpama said she was even more in­spired to join the team this year.

“I thought back to last year when Gugu Zulu passed away and I re­mem­ber the press con­fer­ence when Sibu­siso Vi­lane, the team leader, was ad­dress­ing the me­dia. He was cry­ing and say­ing sorry to ev­ery­body for Gugu dy­ing. For me, I was like, this has to be one of the most beau­ti­ful mo­ments where a per­son is tak­ing re­spon­si­bil­ity to that level. So I thought, well, if I am go­ing to climb Kil­i­man­jaro, I am go­ing to climb Kil­i­man­jaro with that man. Be­cause I will trust him up that moun­tain,” said Mpama.

Vi­lane gave her the op­tion to do the climb nor­mally or join the trek, and she ex­cit­ingly ac­cepted the trek op­tion be­cause it means that she would be given the op­por­tu­nity to give back to the com­mu­nity, es­pe­cially girls.

“It is no longer just about my­self climb­ing. It’s about giv­ing back to the girl child and mak­ing sure that they don’t go with­out san­i­tary tow­els and don’t miss out on school,” she said.

In March, Mpama of­fi­cially joined the chief ex­ec­u­tive of the Im­bumba Foun­da­tion, Richard Mabaso, and other Trek4Man­dela can­di­dates to dis­trib­ute san­i­tary tow­els un­der the Car­ing4Girls cam­paign.

She said the cam­paign high­lighted how many girls go with­out san­i­tary pads and miss school, which shocked her.

The As A Woman singer said al­though she had a son, she ap­pre­ci­ated the girl child and wanted to help make a dif­fer­ence in their lives.

To do­nate to­wards Mpama, SMS “AyaM­pama” to 42513. Each Trek4Man­dela pledge is R30. @Zwane_2li2ls

I have al­ways been into fit­ness and I am an ac­tive per­son

PIC­TURE: NOKUTHULA ZWANE

TREKKER: Ayanda Mpama

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