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Saray Khumalo, The First Black African Woman To Scale Mount Everest Just Broke A Guinness World Record

A year after becoming the first black African woman to scale the world’s highest mountain, Saray Khumalo seems to have set a Guinness World Record for the most money raised during an eight-hour stationary cycling  fundraiser, a report by VOA said.

The award-winning mountaineer and entrepreneur raised nearly $44,000 after eight hours of spinning to support an initiative by education aid group iSchoolAfrica to build digital libraries for rural students in South Africa who struggled to make a go of education during the pandemic.

In each digital library will be a mobile tablet computer with curriculum-based applications and teacher training modules, the VOA report said.

“I think we can’t afford to leave any children behind, if you look at what happened with the lockdown and COVID-19, schools that did not have digital material to support the students were really locked down, students were struggling, and we can’t afford that,” she said.

iSchoolAfrica, which creates awareness about the importance of literacy to individuals and communities, helped fundraise for Khumalo and her team to attempt the Guinness World Record Cyclothon on October 25, 2020. Khumalo teamed up with cyclist Cindy van Wyk to beat the current record of £30 856 (now $40,561), which was set in the UK in 2016, IOL reported.

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“Eight hours of cycling is pretty grueling, even on a static bike but, we South Africans are made of stern stuff and this is a cause we can all passionately get behind. In addition, this event will give teams the chance to get together and get active again,” Khumalo said ahead of the cycling event.

Though Khumalo and her team were unable to reach their personal goal to raise about $62,000, the South African businesswoman has promised to keep fundraising towards that.

In May 2019, Khumalo, a Zambia-born Johannesburg resident, conquered Mt. Everest after four attempts. She had, in May 2017, tried to reach the summit of the mountain, but failed and had to be rescued by helicopter. According to local media, she had been injured during inclement weather while trying to reach the summit of the world’s highest peak. Her two other earlier attempts were also foiled due to an earthquake in Nepal and an avalanche.

Statistics say that more than 296 people have died trying to climb the mountain, and despite the many setbacks, Khumalo, who has also conquered Kilimanjaro and Aconcagua, persevered and has now set a yardstick for others to follow.

Khumalo, a Mandela libraries ambassador and a social entrepreneur, is a mother of two boys. She has, over time, demonstrated her commitment to making a difference in her environment through mountaineering.

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Written by PH

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