'I climbed with a smile' - Letshego Zulu victorious after Kilimanjaro climb

21 July 2017 - 07:18 By Katharine Child
Letshego Zulu summited Mount Kilimanjaro.
Letshego Zulu summited Mount Kilimanjaro.
Image: Via Letshego's Instagram

Letshego Zulu‚ who arrived back in South Africa on Thursday night‚ said she climbed Mount Kilimanjaro with a smile‚ just the way her late husband Gugu had loved seeing her.

Last year racing car driver Gugu Zulu died after complications from altitude sickness while on a Kilimanjaro trek.

Letshego was at his side when he died. 

A year to the day of his death‚ she and a team walking for the Nelson Mandela Foundation summited the mountain.

"Summiting Kilimanjaro on the one-year anniversary of his death and on Nelson Mandela's birthday was very emotional‚" she said shortly after arriving at Johannesburg's OR Tambo International Airport.

"Today I stand victorious. I went back to Mount Kilimanjaro to fulfill a promise to my late husband - to summit that magnificent mountain in the name of keeping the girl child in school. This cause was very dear to my late husband and is very dear to me."

Money raised by the climbers goes towards helping children complete school and providing sanitary pads to girls so they don’t feel they need to miss class during menstruation.

Letshego addressed the media while holding her young daughter.

She said one of Gugu's last Instagram posts before he passed away was about how happy he was to see his wife climbing Kilimanjaro and learning the local language.

"That is how I wanted to climb the mountain. I didn’t want to climb it with tears and sadness."

She said the team she was climbing with worked hard to "keep me smiling and laughing".

"I see the support and I feel the love‚" she said of South Africans who watched her journey closely.

She said Gugu had last year climbed the mountain with one mission - to improve South African education through fundraising.

She said as a single parent she would continue to ensure her daughter and other South African girls finish school.