SA rally champion Gugu Zulu dies on Kilimanjaro in Mandela tribute climb

2016-07-18 10:59
Rally champion Gugu Zulu with his wife Letshego. (Facebook)

Rally champion Gugu Zulu with his wife Letshego. (Facebook)

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Cape Town - South African rally champion Gugu Zulu has died while climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, the Nelson Mandela Foundation said on Monday.

The Foundation confirmed that Zulu had died while attempting to climb Kilimanjaro on Mandela Day in Tanzania.

"It is with a heavy heart that we announce that one of the climbers on the Trek4Mandela, Gugu Zulu lost his life while summiting Kilimanjaro early this morning before summiting," a statement read.

"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."

The foundation said that details around Zulu’s death were sketchy, but that they did know that he had suffered breathing problems.

"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 project leader Richard Mabaso. The team was led by experienced mountaineer, Sibusiso Vilane.

"I am devastated," Sello Hatang, CEO of the Nelson Mandela Foundation said.

"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."

Zulu’s last post on his Facebook page was on Saturday, saying:

The Trek 4 Mandela ambassadors page said Gugu and Letshego Zulu were a "young, black and driven couple, a truly dynamic and unique South African celebrity team".

Letshego is a registered biokineticist, personal trainer, health and fitness advisor and adrenalin junkie, the page read.

"They wish to inspire people of all walks of life (especially those considered to be previously disadvantaged) to take part in various outdoor activities, and place priority on healthy living through physical activity."

This was Zulu's last Instagram post on Sunday:

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