South Africa’s famed race car driver, Gugu Zulu, has died while attempting to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.
Zulu, together with his wife, Letshego Zulu, were part of the Trek4Mandela expedition.
The mountaineering team; led by experienced mountaineer, Sibusiso Vilane, saw the couple apparently descend the mountain together with Richard Mabaso, the project leader and the medical teams.
The climbers were due to reach the summit of Kilimanjaro on Monday, for Nelson Mandela Day.
Confirming the incidence on Monday via a statement; the Nelson Mandela Foundation announced that Zulu died early on Monday morning while trying to reach the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro.
NMF Confirms Gugu Zulu’s Death
The foundation’s statement read:
It is with a heavy heart that we announce that one of the climbers on the Trek4Mandela, Gugu Zulu, lost his life on Kilimanjaro early this morning before summiting.
On behalf of the Board and staff of the Nelson Mandela Foundation; we extend our sincere condolences to his wife Letshego Zulu, their daughter Lelethu, and the Zulu family on this tragic loss.
Details are sketchy. What we do know is that Gugu experienced problems breathing. The medical team supporting the trek put him on a drip and they descended the mountain with him. We are informed that the medical teams tried everything possible to save his life.
Gugu was climbing Kilimanjaro with his wife Letshego and we understand that they both descended the mountain together with Richard Mabaso, the project leader and the medical teams. The team was led by experienced mountaineer Sibusiso Vilane.
In a private statement, the CEO of Nelson Mandela Foundation, Sello Hatang, said “I am devastated. I knew him well. I recruited him to climb Kilimanjaro. The last thing he said to me at the airport before he left last week was that he wanted to speak about doing other Mandela Day projects. I feel a huge sense of loss,”
48 hours before Zulu’s death, he had posted several images of himself and his wife on their trip.
Zulu is a celebrated and well-established racing driver for Volkswagen. His wife, Letshego is a registered biokineticist, personal trainer, health and fitness advisor and adrenalin junkie.
Left to mourn him are his wife and baby girl who just turned one in June.
This year’s Trek4Mandela expedition was targeted at raising enough funds to ensure that 350 000 girl children would not miss a day of school due to menstrual challenges.
Mandela Day is an annual international day in honour of Nelson Mandela. The celebration holds each year on the date of his birth, July 18.