Tough trek to honour Gugu Zulu

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - TE­BOGO MONAMA

THIS year’s Trek4Man­dela climb up Mount Kil­i­man­jaro will not only pay trib­ute to the legacy of Pres­i­dent Nel­son Man­dela but also to the late Gugu Zulu.

Race car driver and ad­ven­ture en­thu­si­ast Zulu died last year on Africa’s high­est peak while try­ing to sum­mit so as to raise funds to keep girls in schools by buy­ing them san­i­tary pads. Zulu was on the ex­pe­di­tion with his wife Let­shego.

This year, the Im­bumba Foun­da­tion and the Nel­son Man­dela Foun­da­tion have or­gan­ised the ex­pe­di­tion, which is sched­uled for next month, in honour of Zulu. The climb is themed #Clim­b4Gugu.

The team had their last train­ing ses­sion in the Drak­ens­berg moun­tains this week­end.

Let­shego has de­cided to go back to the moun­tain again, de­spite last year’s tragedy.

“From the mo­ment the emer­gency ser­vices were called and we had to de­scend, I de­cided there and then that I had to do it again. I knew al­ready that I needed to com­plete the jour­ney,” she said.

“I’m go­ing back to do some­thing Gugu and I were pas­sion­ate about as a cou­ple.” Let­shego also has a burn­ing am­bi­tion: to go back to con­quer Africa’s high­est moun­tain.

“I want to com­plete it for my­self as well. What a great cause to climb for. It was a spe­cial cause for Gugu and me, es­pe­cially as par­ents to a young daugh­ter, Lelethu,” she said.

Richard Mabaso from the Im­bumba Foun­da­tion echoed the sen­ti­ment. “We owe it to Gugu to make sure this is suc­cess­ful. He al­ways said he had a daugh­ter and that’s why he was part of the cause. We have to make sure that his daugh­ter and other girls are catered for.”

On Kil­i­man­jaro be­ing per­ceived as dan­ger­ous af­ter last year’s trip, Let­shego said: “Life is dan­ger­ous. You need to de­cide for your­self what is dan­ger­ous to you.”

On whether this year’s climb will be harder for her, Let­shego said: “I want it to be an amaz­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. I want to re­mem­ber Kili, both climbs.

“Of course there’ll be sad mo­ments, and those are ex­pected. Cry­ing every day is okay but we still have to find the joy in ev­ery­day things.”

To help Let­shego raise funds to keep girls in school, please text “Ad­ven­tureCou­ple” to 43513.

ALL SET: Let­shego Zulu, widow of Gugu Zulu who died on Mount Kil­i­man­jaro last year, and Chris Dip­pe­naar, who will as­cend the moun­tain with his bi­cy­cle strapped on his back and then ride it down.

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