First black African woman to summit Mount Everest

First black African woman to summit Mount Everest

Proving that nothing is impossible  

Setting her goals high, Saray N’kusi Khumalo became the first black African woman to summit Mount Everest in May 2019, after attempting to summit the mountain four times. 

Founding Summits with a Purpose, a platform dedicated to ‘taking Ubuntu to the top of the world’, Khumalo is an avid mountaineer – aiming to climb the highest peak on each continent in the name of educating children in Africa. She has summited multiple peaks, such as Mount Elbrus and Mount Aconcagua to name a few. She raised funds for the Lunchbox Fund by summiting Mount Kilimanjaro in 2012. Khumalo was born in Zambia but is now South African and a resident of Johannesburg. 

Summits with a Purpose shared the thrilling news of Khumalo reaching the summit on 16 May 2019 at 5.15am South African time on social media. “A short while ago Saray N’kusi Khumalo reached the top of the world.”  

“A short while ago Saray N’kusi Khumalo reached the top of the world.”

The Journey

Khumalo reached the summit at 8848 metres in elevation after beginning her journey on 20 April 2019. It was not an easy expedition and reports from News24 suggest that Khumalo slipped on the balcony area of the mountain as she tried to descend to Camp Four just below the peak. During the descent, Khumalo’s team member, Seamus Lawless passed away after tragically falling from an altitude of 8300m in an area called a balcony. Her passion to make a difference in Africa allowed her to persevere even after almost reaching the true summit in 2017, just shy a 100m as she reached the south summit.   

On her website, Khumalo shares her passion for going beyond the boundaries to achieve her wildest dreams and inspire others.  

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.”  

As a powerful example of determination, Khumalo aims to raise funds to build at least five libraries at underprivileged schools in South Africa with her 7 Summits with a Purpose initiative 

More information about her journey can be found on  




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