Gran prays for South Pole explorer's return

2012-01-24 12:49
Nzuzo Mnikathi, 19, from Pietermaritzburg, smiles after becoming the youngest black person to reach the South Pole. He was part of the Unlimited Child South Pole expedition. (Sean Wisedale, Beeld)

Nzuzo Mnikathi, 19, from Pietermaritzburg, smiles after becoming the youngest black person to reach the South Pole. He was part of the Unlimited Child South Pole expedition. (Sean Wisedale, Beeld)

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Pietermaritzburg - The grandmother of 19-year-old Nzuzo Mnikathi, who became the youngest black person to reach the South Pole on Sunday, says she won't rest until he's back home safely.

Ivy Ndlovu, said she is praying for his safe return.

The Unlimited Child called me to tell me that he’s reached the top and was leading the way,” Ndlovu said.

Despite hearing the good news, the grandmother said she is still uneasy.

“I will only be happy when he comes back home,” she told The Witness.


Mnikathi has not had an easy life. He was orphaned at the age of 9 and left to be raised by his grandmother. But on Sunday he proved that nothing is impossible.

He and the team covered the 111km distance in six-and-a-half days.

He survived frostbite and temperatures of 32°C below zero.

His achievement has made headlines on news channels and radio stations across the nation.

“Today has been the best day of my life. Even though I really struggled and am really exhausted, I am so grateful to be here with the rest of the team. Without their support and motivation, I don’t think I would have managed to hold out till the end, but I am so glad that I did,” said Mnikathi in a statement.

Iain Buchan, founder of The Unlimited Child, said the team encountered an unexpected slow uphill climb on the 19.5km final stretch to the finish.

“Nzuzo is a living example that people have unlimited potential. Here is a young man who has had a tough life, but is changing his future and has taken up our challenge to be an ambassador for The Unlimited Child,” Buchan said.

He said he was glad that the frostbite on Mnikathi’s fingers and nose held up well and he was able to join the rest of the team to ski the final haul.

The team were to board the Russian Twin Otter Turboprop cargo plane for the six-hour return flight to Union Glacier base camp in Antarctica, before flying back to Chile.

They are expected back in South Africa on Thursday.

- Expedition website
Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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