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Saray Khumalo becomes first black African woman to summit Mt Everest

Date: May 16, 2019

Saray Khumalo has made history by becoming the first black African woman to summit Mount Everest.

The Zambia-born Johannesburg resident ascended nearly 9 000 meters above sea level. It was her fourth try to climb the mountain – after previous attempts failed due to external factors.

Fellow Mountaineer, Deshun Deysel, says there’s a huge buzz around Khumalo’s achievement.

“One of the realities of climbing high altitudes is you come across people who have tried it 3; 4; 5 times. It’s lucky if someone gets to the summit on the first time. There is a huge amount of physical and mental prep that goes into it and also an endeavour that requires an amount of financial support.”

In 2012, Saray summitted Mt Kilimanjaro and in the process raised funds for the Lunchbox Fund. The mountaineering passion took hold and she embarked on a journey to climb the highest peak on each continent, not for herself but the education of African children.

She summitted Mt Elbrus in 2014 and Mt Aconcagua in 2015.

She became a Nelson Mandela Libraries ambassador and raised nearly R1m for school libraries.

After being on Everest during both the Serac fall in 2014 and the earthquake in 2015, she reached the south summit in 2017.

Through pure perseverance, grit and courage she decided to return to Mt Everest in 2019. During this expedition, she supports the Dr Thandi Ndlovu Foundation.


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