Gugu Zulu dies tragically while climbing Kilimanjaro

2016-07-18 11:14


Gugu Zungu, Letshego Zulu
Gugu Zungu, Letshego Zulu (Photo: Instagram)

Cape Town - South African race car driver, Gugu Zulu, has died while attempting to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania on Sunday, eNCA reported.

Gugu reportedly experienced breathing problems on Sunday and was rushed to hospital. 

On Saturday he wrote on Instagram: "Am having flu like symptoms and struggling with the mountain but taking it step by step. (sic)" 

Gugu and his wife, Letshego Zulu were two of 46 South Africans who were attempting to summit the mountain, hoping to reach the highest peak in Africa on Mandela Day, 18 July.

The annual Trek4Mandela Kilimanjaro expedition aims to raise enough funds to ensure that 350 000 girl children will not miss a day of school due to menstrual challenges.

Nelson Mandela Foundation statement:

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.

Sello Hatang, CEO of the Nelson Mandela Foundation, 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."

This was Gugu's last Facebook post on Saturday, 16 July:

"Made it though (sic) day2. My wife is doing fabulous, she has even learnt the local language. Am having flu like symptoms and struggling with the mountain but taking it step by step!!
Today we managed to see our destination and our camp is literary above the clouds!!"

The Nelson Mandela Foundation will share more information once we get further details from Tanzania.

The climbers were due to summit Kilimanjaro today, for Mandela Day.