Saray Khumalo Returns to South African Soil

Everesting Everest

The first black woman from Africa to conquer Mount Everest returned to South African soil on Monday the 27th of May. On the morning of the 16th of May, Saray Khumalo made history when she reached the summit of Mount Everest. It was her fourth attempt to summit the mountain and this time she returned victoriously.
“On the 16th of May 2019, I stood on top of Everest. I embarked on this journey to reach the seven summits in 2012, the seven highest summits in the world and so far I have done four. It was not just for a personal quest but it was something I embarked on an effort to educate the African child.” – Saray Khumalo
47-year-old Saray has been climbing mountains for seven years, having reached, the great summits of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania in 2013 and the breathtaking Mera Peak in Nepal in 2014 and now, the ultimate conquering of Mount Everest!

At the Peak

According to Times Live in the “fleeting moment” that Saray finally summited Everest, she felt cold, struggled to think, but also knew she was “on top of the world and that nothing is impossible”. Making your way to the top is a pretty impressive feat but every climber knows that the adventure doesn’t stop there. At the top, Khumalo realized she still had to descend, the most dangerous part of the climb.

“Suddenly you realise Noel’s voice at back of mind that the summit is only halfway to getting there.”

Who is this Noel you ask? Well, Noel Hanna was Saray’s exhibition leader from Ireland. He has summited Everest nine times and was there with her every step of the way.

Source: Facebook, Summit for a Purpose

The Hero’s Welcome and Thanksgiving

On Monday morning Saray arrived at OR Tambo International Airport with a warm welcome awaiting her celebration of arrival.

In Memory Of

According to News 24 at least 10 of her fellow climbers died or have been reported missing in their quest to reach the summit, including her good friend, the Irishman Seamus Lawless.
I encourage everyone to continue making the most of their time they have because life is short. I pray that when we die, we die doing what we love and making a difference,” she said.

Summit Your Own Everest

If there’s one thing we can treasure from Saray, it’s her heart for making the impossible, possible and encouraging others to do so too. Saray told reporters: “Not only is my family and my tribe, who are my friends… behind me, I am so excited and proud that the entire nation is behind me.”

One of the things that drove Khumalo was her fundraising. She has previously raised more than R1m for the Nelson Mandela Foundation for school libraries. For this journey, she raised money to aid orphans in finishing university through the Dr Thandi Ndlovu Foundation.

Saray Khumalo

She’s truly an extraordinary woman and a hero of her time.

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About the Author : David du Plooy

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