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South African woman makes landmark Everest summit

South African woman makes landmark Everest summit

Kathmandu: A South African business executive reached the top of Mount Everest on Thursday in what is believed to be the first summit of the world's highest mountain by a black African woman.

Saray Khumalo, 47, reached the top of the 8,848-metre (29,029-foot) mountain after three previous bids were thwarted by bad weather, injury and tragedy.

Khumalo's Summits with a Purpose expedition organiser said she was the first black African woman to reach the top of Everest.

Nepal's Tourism Department confirmed that Khumalo had made the summit but had no record on whether she was the first black African woman.

In 2017, strong winds and frostbite forced Khumalo to give up on Everest, just metres from the summit. In 2015, her expedition was cancelled after an earthquake hit Nepal.

All Everest climbs were halted during her first attempt in 2014 when an avalanche killed 16 guides on the mountain.

Khumalo is on a quest to conquer the highest peaks on each continent.

She has already climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa, Aconcagua in Argentina and Mount Elbrus in Russia.

In 2003, South African park ranger Sibusiso Vilane became the first black person to summit Mount Everest.

Khumalo uses her expeditions to raise funds for libraries and support children's educational activities.

"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," Khumalo says on her website.

Many Himalayan mountains — including Everest, the world's highest — are at peak climbing season with the window of good weather between late April and the end of May.

Agencies

Agencies

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