First Black African Woman Climbs Everest, Breaks Stereotypes
JOHANNESBURG: Saray Khumalo, a South African business executive becomes the first black African woman to climb the Mount Everest. Saray reached the 8,848-metre mountain last week after three previous failed attempts.
On Wednesday morning the 47-year-old climber said that knowing her climb would be on the record books gave her the motivation to go for it. “Giving up is not an option,” Khumalo told South African television from Kathmandu in Nepal.
“I was aware, taking on the project that it was big and it needed to be done. I think that was one of the reasons I kept pushing, even after failing before.”
The new record holder says that she’s on a quest to climb on to the highest peaks of each continent. She has also climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Aconcagua in Argentina and Mount Elbrus in Russia.
“Summiting Everest or any other mountain from here on should be the norm because other people are doing it — why not us?” she said in her first interview since her climb.
“It doesn’t matter where you come from, or what curveball has been thrown at you, keep going because the summit is just next door, it is just the next step.”
“They know I am not going to take risks that are unreasonable,” Khumalo said on talking to her two sons ages 21 and 16 about the danger involved in the summit.
“I took longer than anticipated (to come down). We didn’t take a cell phone to the summit… so I only spoke to them when I got to base camp, but they were very happy.” Khumalo stated.
In 2003, South African park ranger Sibusiso Vilane became the first black person to summit Mount Everest.