Saray is an award-winning mountaineer and on 16 May 2019, she became the first black African woman to summit Mount Everest. Through this remarkable achievement, the demand for her to share her stories with audiences wherever they may be, has understandably rocketed. The speeches invariably bring audiences to their feet in praise of her success.
A Mandela libraries ambassador, a social entrepreneur, mother of two boys and an executive in one of the leading financial institutions in South Africa, Saray uses climbing to raise awareness of the Mandela Libraries Projects*. As part of her climbing with a purpose initiative, Saray Khumalo has dedicated her climbs to ordinary people, women and girls, daughters of the African soil who dare to dream. She continues to campaign for more libraries as she takes steps towards the 7 highest peaks on the 7 continents around the world – The Seven Summits
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)
- Built an outdoor gym for Kids Haven worth R200,000 and converted a room into a library
- Ubuntu Everest 2017 (self-funded climb) – raised funds over R800,000 for The Mandela Library Projects and built four libraries around South Africa.
- Ubuntu Everest 2015 (self-funded climb) – raised funds for The Mandela Library Projects and built a library for Isiziba Primary School.
Ubuntu Everest 2015 (self-funded climb) – raised funds for The Lunch Box Fund to feed over 60,000 Ubuntu Everest 2014 (partially funded by Discovery Holdings) – in Thembisa, Johannesburg
“My dream is to go higher and go further for as long as I breathe. To pave a way for my children and other ordinary people, so we may realise and accept that ordinary people like us can achieve extraordinary heights. To not think too much about the difficulties on the way but keep focused on the end goal and to take their hand, motivate them to realise that they too may dream the impossible dream.”
“On the 16th of May 2019, I stood on top of Everest. I embarked on this journey to reach the seven summits in 2012, the seven highest summits in the world and so far I have done four. It was not just for a personal quest but it was something I embarked on in an effort to educate the African child. Everything that I have done, I have done because someone invested in my education. I have done this through the (Nelson) Mandela Libraries project. We have built three libraries in Gauteng and one in KZN as well as the Dr Thandi (Ndlovu Children’s) Foundation which looks after orphans,” she said.