Kilimanjaro - Crown of Africa
The Kilimanjaro section intially held a skeptical space in my heart when working on the Superclimb site. How could one mountain hold enough news to warrant an entire subsection of the site? But as the years rolled on, I grew to realise this majestic giant of the African continent was more than just the highest hunk of rock in Africa.
Kilimanjaro has become an icon of the African people. We as Africans are proud of our mountain. Uhuru Peak on Kibo, the highest point on this the highest freestanding volcano on earth, aptly translates to 'Freedom Peak'.
Kilimanjaro represents Africa's emanicipation into the modern, global world. Tens of thousands of people aspire to climb it every year. From trekkers to mountaineers, it is one of the revered '7 summits' - the highest mountains on each of the continents.
People also use the ascent to further good causes, or challenge themselves regardless of their own disabilities. In the past ten years all sorts of celebrities have climbed the peak for all sorts of good causes, while heart-transplant patients, cancer survivors and physically challenged individuals etc have uesd it to show what people with disabilities can achieve, and raise funds to help others in similar situations.
Many a time, Kilimanjaro articles have focused on its diminishing glaciers. Its high reaches, glittering with some of the last of the world's last equatorial ice, has caught the imagination of millions, as it is one of the clearest and most obvious examples of rapid climate change.
Kilimanjaro is more than a mountain or mountaineering challenge. It is one of the best examples of how we as people make sense of our world through identifying with the high places we call mountains. It is a place where people's lives are tranformed for the better.
One of my favourite Kilimanjaro projects of recent times is the Dare to Dream project. I have copied these two brave climbers request for help to get them on the mountain in December this year again below. Let us use the mountain for more than it is, by supporting causes such as theirs.
Khayelitsha climbers Loyiso Koyana and Luwanda Mxosana hope to show other young people from the townships that their dreams should not be discouraged by their background or circumstances, by climbing Kilimanjaro this December.
Luwanda, 22-years-old, is a business administration student in his 3rd Year at TSiBA Education. Loyiso works as the Student Development Officer at TSiBA Education and is also a passionate entrepreneur.
Motivated by TSiBA Education’s philosophy of Paying-it-Forward, these two young men believe that despite life’s challenges they have been given some opportunities and would like to create opportunities for others.
The Tertiary School in Business Administration, TSiBA Education, is a tertiary institution that was founded in 2004 and awards tuition scholarships to deserving students who demonstrate strong leadership and entrepreneurial qualities.
The institution is based on a strong philosophy of paying-it-forward and produces graduates who are agents of social change.
Besides inspiring other young people to dream, the aim of this project is to provide opportunities for school children by making their educational experience better. It is a well known fact that through education we are able to create opportunities and inspire a better future.
In their press release they stress the importance of school children having the access to the right resources that will allow them to successfully complete their studies. The Dare to DREAM team will raise funds that will be dedicated towards paying school fees, buying school uniform and stationery for school children in the townships.
“For many young people who come from the townships life is negative. Life is dominated by dark images of HIV and Aids, crime, high unemployment rates, lack of proper educational infrastructure etc. As a result of this, dreaming in the townships is considered a mere luxury with increasingly a number of these young people engage in anti-social activities that destroy the future of this country. Without a dream what is one’s purpose for living?”
Koyana feels there is a dire need for young people who will be become good role models that inspire some positive changes that will create a better future for South" Africa, for young people in particular. There is even greater need for other young people who see opportunities to not empower themselves but also empower other young people as well.
“It is about time that we realise that the solutions that will aid in solving these problems will come from other young people, who might have better knowledge, or experience if you may, and provide them with opportunities that will allow them to do so.”
If you would like to help support this initiative contact Loyiso Koyana at firstname.lastname@example.org or 078 203 9223; or Luwanda Mxosana at email@example.com or 073 313 2944. The pair hope to climb Kilimanjaro in December 2010.
Image: Kilimanjaro from the air, an awesome sight- by Ray Moore