Written by Reuven Blignault

SUNDOWNER – Curro Aurora honoured Saray Khumalo, the first black African woman in the world to summit Mount Everest.July 9, 2019

Curro Aurora’s principal JC Engelbrecht presents a certificate of appreciation to Saray Khumalo, the first black woman in the world to summit Mount Everest.

Curro Aurora honoured Saray Khumalo, the first black African woman in the world to summit Mount Everest, with a certificate of appreciation and achievement on 31 May.

Khumalo, whose children attend the school, first attempted the feat in 2014. “Back then, we didn’t even come close due to bad weather conditions. In 2015 and 2017, I attempted it again, only to see the mountain closed with the same problem. But this year ‘summit fever’ hit me, and it was finally a success.”

She also summited Mount Elbrus in 2014 and Mount Aconcagua in 2015. After being on Everest during both the serac fall (block or column of glacial ice) in 2014 and the earthquake of 2015, she reached the south summit (subsidiary peak to the primary peak of Mount Everest) in 2017.

Saray Khumalo at the summit of Mount Everest with a South African flag. Photo: Supplied

Aurora’s principal JC Engelbrecht attempted the feat himself in 2002.

He said, “I have always been around mountains and I love experiences like that myself. I climbed up to the point of the Everest base camp, so I understand the enormity of this achievement. You have to be passionate and dedicated.

“Saray had a goal in mind, to set an example to the youth and inspire them to follow their dreams. We are so proud of her achievement and it is an honour to have her as a part of our school.”

Khumalo added that climbing the summit was no easy task, but that she did it to inspire and better education for the children of Africa.

Saray Khumalo summits Everest with her climbing team. Photo: Supplied.

She said, “Education and inspiration is something close to my heart. The first summit I climbed was Kilimanjaro, where we raised money for Kid’s Haven and the Lunchbox Fund, where we were able to renovate a school and build them a new library.”

Throughout her attempts, she has raised enough money to build five libraries across the country through the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

As a Nelson Mandela Libraries ambassador, she raised nearly R1m for school libraries.

When presented with the certificate, Khumalo presented the school with Hindu prayer flags collected on her journey as a commemorative gift.

The Tibetans believe the prayers and mantras will be blown by the wind to spread goodwill and compassion into all undergoing the task.