For her fourth attempt, South African entrepreneur Saray Khumalo managed on Thursday to climb the summit of 8,850 meters. She thus became, according to the organizers of her expedition, the first black African woman to set foot on the top of Everest.
The Nepalese Ministry of Tourism has confirmed that the mountaineer has reached the summit. But he did not say if it was the first African black to achieve this feat.
Saray Khumalo, 47, had failed in her first three attempts in previous years. She received many congratulations. “Saray Khumalo is the first African woman to climb Everest to promote access to education for Africa’s children,” said South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Twitter.
“It proves to us that courage and perseverance make it possible to achieve the greatest ambitions,” added Ramaphosa.
The mountaineer uses the publicity of her expeditions to raise funds to finance libraries for children. In 2017, the South African had to give up a few meters from the summit because of strong winds and frostbite.
In her first attempt in 2014, all roped parties on the way to the summit were forced to turn back after an avalanche that killed 16 guides. Saray Khumalo has already climbed Kilimanjaro (Tanzania), Aconcagua (Argentina) and Mount Elbrus (Russia).
“My dream is to go always higher and further, as long as I live, in order to draw … ordinary people to become aware and accept that ordinary people can reach unsuspected heights,” she declared on her website.
In 2003, a South African mountaineer, Sibusiso Vilane, became the first black man to climb Everest.