Saray Khumalo is an award-winning mountaineer, a Mandela libraries ambassador, a social entrepreneur, mother of two boys and also an executive in one of the distinguished financial institutions in South Africa.
Saray Khumalo has over time demonstrated her commitment to making a difference in her environment through mountaineering.
Through her climbing with a purpose initiative, Saray has organised and been part of the following initiatives:
- Climbing Kilimanjaro with a purpose (Self- funded climb)
o Built an outdoor gym for Kids Haven worth R200,000 and converted a room into a library for the children.
Ubuntu Everest 2014 (Partially funded by Discovery Holdings)
o Raised funds for The Lunch Box Fund to feed over 60,000;
- Ubuntu Everest 2015 (Self-funded climb)
- Raised funds for The Mandela Library Projects and built a library for Isiziba Primary School in Thembisa, Johannesburg;
- Ubuntu Everest 2017 (Self-funded climb)
- Raised funds over R800,000 for The Mandela Library Projects and built four libraries around South Africa. She continues to campaign for more libraries as she takes steps towards the 7 highest peaks on the 7 continents around the world.
One of her goals with Climbing for a purpose is to be an example to the next generation of leaders; to inspire them to pursue their dreams and summit their everyday peaks in education and other spheres of life, knowing that nothing is impossible if we dare to dream!
Saray Khumalo has been awarded the following accolades:
- Winner of the Klipdrift Golden Endurance Award 2014
- Record holder for the highest altitude climber for a black African female 2017 and 2018
- MMI Lesedi awards 2017
- Ministerial Recognition of Excellence Award 2018
Saray has been mountaineering for only 7 years and in that time has summitted the following peaks:
- Mount Kilimanjaro (5896) – summit 2012;
- Mera Peak (6476) – summit 2014;
- Lobuche East (6119) – summit 2014;
- Elbrus traverse (5642) – summit 2014;
- Aconcagua traverse (6980) – summit 2015;
- Everest expedition attempts:
- 2014 Reached Everest Base Camp – Mountain closed after an avalanche that claimed 16 Sherpa lives
- 2015 Reached Everest Camp 2 – Expedition abandoned after an earthquake in Nepal
- 2017 Reached the South Summit (8749) – This is 99 meters from the Everest Summit making her the record holder of the black African women for 2017 and 2018.
- 2019 Reached the Summit on May 16th, becoming the first black African woman in history to do so.