Taarifa Rwanda

First African Woman To Reach Mount Everest Apex Is Rwandan

After four attempts to scale through the steep edges of Mount Everest, a Rwandan business woman has finally conquered the summit of Mount Everest, becoming the first African woman to scale Everest.

Saray N’Kusi Khumalo was born in Zambia with Rwandan blood and now lives in South Africa.

On Thursday, May 16, N’kusi aged 47 and a mother of two boys, successfully climbed 8,848 meters to reach Mount Everest.

For the past six years, Nkusi has been climbing mountains for charity and awareness.

In 2012 she also climbed Mount Kilimanjaro (5,896m) and later in 2015 she scaled Aconcagua (6,962m in 2015).

According to Nkusi, her efforts aim at supporting and promoting access to education for African children.

She reminds that through courage and perseverance, “We can achieve our highest ambitions, for the greater good of humanity.”

After reaching the summit, Nkusi had yet another challenge of sloping to the foot of the mountain.

“The descent of Everest is always the most dangerous part, because it is days and days that you walk, you are exhausted. And after reaching the top and turning around, the path is still very long down,” she said.

In 2014 she made her first attempt to climb Mount Everest but the situation was not conducive.

“I was sleeping in my tent. It was 6 am. I heard a rumbling, it was too close for comfort, and all the tents were shaking. I heard people panicking. Base camp is normally full of people who are hopeful … but within an hour, everything was chaotic,” she reminisces.

She remembers that initially, guides were not telling them anything about fatalities, but she saw helicopters picking up dead bodies.

In that season, she was very new to climbing, but there were many experienced climbers present.

“I could see everyone was afraid. I learned one lesson. Climbing is really a personal decision. You take care of yourself.”

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