On top of the world after tough Kilimanjaro climb
Butterworth’s Anda Nqonji can only go higher after achievement
She threw up for most of the journey, felt dizzy, altitude got the best of her, almost gave up as her body could not take it anymore, but at the end of the day, she reached the peak of Africa as she successfully climbed Mount Kilimanjaro on Wednesday.
What kept Butterworth-born Anda Nqonji, 27, going was knowing she had put her body on the line for a good cause.
She was among two teams from the Trek4Mandela initiative hosted by the Ibumba Foundation that climbed Mount Kilimanjaro to raise funds to buy sanitary towels for school girls from poor families.
Speaking from Tanzania on Friday, Nqoji told the Daily Dispatch that her body was put to the ultimate test.
“Altitude sickness got me at 5,000m above sea level and I had the most terrible headaches. I threw up most of my journey and felt dizzy, extremely tired, short of breath and so many times I wanted to give up. But I just couldn't bring myself to do it.”Nqonji said she kept thinking about all the young girls who were vouching and relying on her. “I could not help but see myself in them and I just couldn't fail them. The support I received back home was indescribable, it just kept me pushing.
“It was over 30 hours of pain and struggle, but this is now something I had to go through for a day, yet the girls I did this for experience it every day of their lives,” she said.
The SABC journalist said she was happy about her involvement which tested her endurance and gave her an opportunity to learn a little more about herself.
“ The journey began on Monday, when we walked for approximately10 hours, it's been a series of long walks leading to the actual day. We had to take a climatisation walk of four hours on our ‘rest day’,” she recalled.
Nqonji said the summit night began on Wednesday at about 11pm.
“It was freezing cold outside, at about -17°C when we our group started out on our journey to the peak of Uhuru, one of the highest points in Africa.”
The expedition was established by social entrepreneur and humanitarian, Richard Mabaso seven years ago and is now headed by renowned South African adventurer and motivational speaker Sibusiso Vilane.
The Trek4Mandela website says Vilane is the first black African to conquer the three poles challenge which comprise the South and North Pole including Mount Everest.Nqonji, a journalism graduate from the Walter Sisulu University, said she resonated with plight poor young girls hence she jumped at the opportunity.
“I was really moved by the statistics that show that millions of young under privileged girls miss school annually, because of lack of sanitary towels, missing approximately a third of their studies.
“I decided to take on this journey because I resonate with this plight. Coming from a disadvantaged home and community myself. “I know exactly how it feels not to have the most basic needs,” she added.
To make your pledge and donate towards buying sanitary towels for schoolgirls, SMS “Anda” to 42513. SMSed cost R30...