Trek4Mandela Ambassadors

A number of South African celebrities and media personalities have joined the Trek4Mandela initiative. Support the ambassadors in reaching their fundraising goal by SMSing any of their names to 42513 and pledge R30. Learn more about the ambassadors taking part below.

SMS "Sibusiso" to 42513

Sibusiso Vilane - Trek4Mandela Leader

Sibusiso Vilane is a seasoned mountaineer and leader of the Trek4Mandela expidition. In 2003 Vilane became the first black African to summit Mount Everest, from the south side. In 2005 he summited from the north side, becoming the first black person to successfully conquer Everest from both sides. Both times he succeeded on his first attempt. Vilane then embarked on the Seven Summits Quest between 2005 and 2008, and he has the distinction of being the first black person in the world to achieve this feat.  The Seven Summits Quest entails successfully climbing the highest mountains on each continent. Since his first ascent of Mount Kilimanjaro in 1999, Vilane has summited that mountain 14 times, 12 of which have been guiding trips and the latest of which was in October 2014.

SMS "Richard" to 42513

Richard Mabaso - Founder of Caring4Girls and Trek4Mandela

Richard Mabaso is a social entrepreneur who comes from humble beginnings, and he was inspired by his background to pursue his career in community development. In 2010, he started Imbumba Projects as an organisation to do community work, and three years later registered the Imbumba Foundation. Its programmes are endorsed by the Nelson Mandela Foundation, Lil-lets We are Women, the Department of Basic Education, the Mpumalanga Department of Education and the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education. Through the Trek4Mandela initiative, Richard aims to create awareness of the challenges facing impoverished girls from rural and poor schools during their monthly menstrual cycles, as well as raise funds to purchase sanitary towels to keep needy girls in school.

SMS "Werner" to 42513

Werner Gruner - Financial consultant

Werner Gruner has worked in the financial industry for over a decade and guides high net worth families, persons and entrepreneurs on international economic affairs. In 2012, he established the Starlight Global Foundation with a mission to empower people by investing in their education, culture and economic autonomy. He has embraced the Trek4Mandela challenge as he believes that a vigorous nation starts with a vigorous education.

SMS "Penny" to 42513

Penny Lebyane - Media personality

Penny Lebyane is a media personality with experience across a variety of platforms such as community, public service and commercial radio and television stations. She started the Penny Lebyane Foundation in 2012 which, through mentorship programmes at schools and higher learning institutes, helps young learners with career advice and personal development. She wants to be the voice for that tenacious dreamer who knows that life gets better out of the village, who knows that if they stay in school and hold on to their dreams, they can become whatever they set their hearts on.  

SMS "Roxanne" to 42513

Roxanne Schutte - Anaesthesiologist

Roxanne Schutte received her M.B.Ch.B from the University of Cape Town in 1983 and has pursued a career in anaesthetics. "As my profession implies I have a passion for helping others. In addition to that, I crave new experiences and adventure," she says. "I see the Trek4Mandela expedition as an exciting oppurtunity that will satisfy both needs and more importantly, aid in improving the lives of others. Even though this is a huge challenge (physically and mentally), I am determined to support and make a difference with my team as we reach the top of Africa."

SMS "Gerry" to 42513

Gerry Elsdon - CEO of Gerry E (Pty) Ltd (marketing)

Gerry Elsdon is an international humanitarian, activist and outspoken voice on issues of women's empowerment, community regeneration, wellbeing and its impact on Women and Children in Africa. She speaks openly to the issues plaguing our communities and the humanitarian challenges that we must overcome with a motivational and inspirational voice of someone unafraid to work toward positive change.

SMS "Koketso" to 42513

Koketso Modiba - Fashion Entrepreneur

Koketso Modiba is a Model and fashion entrepreneur . The former big Brother Africa housemate and Miss  South Africa finalist won the title of Sowetan live sexiest woman in Mzansi . With experience working for an NGO in professional development, she started her own NPO which focuses on mentoring developing the girl child.

SMS "Cecile" to 42513

Cecile Raubenheimer – TV Personality, Host, Hospitality and Travel Consultant

Cecile was born in South Africa, is based in Miami Beach, and sees herself as a global citizen. Passionate about conscious living, she founded EVOLVE, a strategic consultancy for hospitality and wellness businesses, with an approach to creating social impact and sustainability. When she’s not lugging a suitcase off the plane you can most likely find her soaking up the sun, singing in a karaoke bar or whipping up a vegan dessert. 

SMS "Ines" to 42513

Maria-Ines Castro - Head of Marketing at Julius Baer

Maria-Ines Castro is a Head of Marketing for Julius Baer bank in Latin America and Israel. Her career spans 25 years in the field marketing communications, including government, non-profit and Fortune 500 enterprises. She is passionate about animal welfare, children’s rights and quality of life, and the environment. She supports the Humane Society of the United States Legislative Fund, the ASPCA, Best Friends, SPCA International, Wounded Warrior Project, St. Jude Children’s Hospital, the Junior Diabetes Research Fund, the Jane Goodall Foundation and more recently, Trek4Mandela.

SMS "Fran" to 42513

Fran Roberts – Visual Artist.

Fran's practice spans a broad range of categories, including but not limited to photography, cinematography, live action direction, and graphic design. For over sixteen years, he has worked across a vast array of media, from feature film to product design to app development. Fran combines expertise across a multitude of genres with strategic insight derived from experience with clients and partners ranging from Fortune 500 companies to emergent tech startups to social impact nonprofits. 

SMS "OG" to 42513

OG Molefe – Journalist

OG is a seasoned sports journalist, having covered a number of sporting events ranging from the FIFA World Cup, UEFA Champions League, Africa Cup of Nations to major African golf tournaments. OG Molefe is also a television sports presenter of a football show called e-Shibobo which brings fans insights into the beautiful game. He is also the Sports Editor of eNCA, South Africa's most watched TV news channel.

SMS "David" to 42513

David Bush – Civil Engineer

David is a qualified civil engineer who specialises in the project management of large rail and marine projects. When not working he enjoys, sailing, scuba diving and skiing. He is also an avid motorcyclist. "I decided to take part in Trek4Mandela 2016 because I love an adventure, and to be able to contribute at the same time makes this a great and very worthwhile undertaking," he says. "It is always great to spend time in the company of inspiring people, too."

SMS "Omphi" to 42513

Omphitlhetse Mooki – Journalist 

When not chasing deadline, this 35-year-old journalist treks into the wild to catch amazing sunsets and sunrises, to marvel at the beauty of nature and nourish her soul. She loves sleeping under the stars and has spent nights in caves with hyenas laughing/screaming all around her. She’s a child of God and a lover of life who climbs the highest of mountains. Having conquered Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania on her birthday last year, Omphitlhetse vowed to return to the East African country – not only to climb, but to climb with a purpose. This year, since Independent Media has partnered with Imbuba Foundation and the Nelson Mandela Foundation, she will be climbing for change... climbing to make a difference to lives of young underprivileged girls who cannot afford sanitary towels. 

SMS "Suveer" to 42513

Suveer Ramdhani – Chief Development Officer at SEACOM

"Trek4Mandela addresses one of the key root causes of our failure to develop young girls into well-educated women leaders," says Suveer. "We are failing by allowing such trivial biology to hold back our young girls from education. Kilimanjaro, as the highest point in Africa, is the ideal location to symbolically overcome this challenge and to reaffirm our commitment to young women. Being an adventurous spirit by nature, I was drawn to this physical challenge, and feel confident that the combination of cause and conviction will keep me motivated to summit." 

SMS "Asogan" to 42513

Asogan Pillay – Civil Engineer

Asogan is an entrepreneur who founded a consulting engineering company in 1998, who, together with a team of highly qualified professionals, grew the firm to the largest 100% black owned consulting engineering company in South Africa. "Once I found out about Trek4Mandela and Caring4Girls, I had to be a part of this great expedition," he says. "I have always revered the principles of the late Nelson Mandela, and to be a part of this honourable initiative is really life changing. One of the main reasons I am doing the Kilimanjaro climb is to support my wife, Samantha Dawn Pillay, who 10 years ago had been diagnosed with cancer and lupus. 2016 marks the year that she is 10 years cancer-free and 10 years living the effects of lupus." 

SMS "BoboTumi" to 42513

Bobo and Tumi Tsehlo

Bobo and Tumi have been married since 2002. She is a student, an aspiring business woman and most importantly, a mom to two beautiful kids. He is the Managing Director of the South African Mint Company. Bobo said, “Climbing Kilimanjaro with my amazing husband to raise funds for Caring4Girls hits home, as I was once young and had to go through the painful and humiliating situation of not having sanitary towels and having to miss school as I would pretend to be sick so I could stay at home. On a personal level, I am turning 40 and wanted something big and fulfilling to mark this milestone with." In addition to supporting Caring4Girls, Tumi contributes his time to Khaiso High School Foundation, which he co-founded with fellow former learners of the school. The foundation is a platform for former learners to maintain a relationship with their alma mater and to contribute to the improvement of the learning conditions in the school today.

SMS "Adventure" to 42513

The Adventure Couple (Gugulethu and Letshego Zulu)

Gugu and Letshego Zulu are a young, black and driven couple, a truly dynamic and unique South African celebrity team. Gugu is a celebrated and well established racing criver (National Rally Championship) for VW and Sasol SA, and Letshego a registered biokineticist, personal trainer, health and fitness advisor and adrenalin junkie. 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. 

SMS "Tebogo" to 42513

Tebogo Molefe – Head of Corporate Social Investment, Industrial Development Corporation

Tebogo is Head of Corporate Social Investment at the Industrial Development Corporation, a leading state-owned enterprise with the mandate to promote economic growth and industrial development in South Africa and the rest of Africa. "I am privileged to be part of the 2016 Trek4Mandela climb which was inspired by the girls from our 30 adopted schools," says Tebogo. "As an advocate of gender equality, I believe that the lack of access to appropriate sanitary protection disempowers girls, who are forced to miss school during their menses because they cannot afford menstrual sanitary ware. The fact that many families are forced to make a choice between access to safe, hygienic and healthy menstrual products and ‘food’ is an injustice. I dedicate my climb to all African girls for whom the cost of menstrual sanitary ware is beyond their reach as a result of poverty."

SMS "Peta" to 42513

Peta Mashinini – Independant Contractor

Peta is an independent contractor specialising in project and contract management, good governance, policy and strategy development, and has served in local government for over 14 years in strategic positions at the City of Johannesburg as Strategic Executive in Corporate Services, Regional Director and Director of Social Development. She has also positively contributed in shaping education in South Africa by serving at the National Education Crisis Committee and Education Policy Unit at Wits. 

SMS "Vis" to 42513

Vis Naidoo – Sales Executive at Barloworld

Vis is a Sales Executive with Barloworld Logistics, where they focus on finding sustainable supply chain solutions for their clients. Vis became aware of the great impact that the Imbumba Foundation is making when he was asked to speak on Leadership at the Vision 20/20 Leadership Conference in Mpumalanga in 2015. Understanding the challenges facing the youth in rural communities, and the difference we all can make to the future leaders of our country, he committed to become a regular speaker at the leadership conference and be involved in all initiatives of the Imbumba Foundation. Caring4Girls is dear to him in that it not only makes a difference to girls, but to mothers of the next generation of future leaders. To this end, ensuring girls never miss a day of school fitted into the goal, together with giving them an equal chance of success as boys. 

SMS "Samantha" to 42513

Samantha Pillay – Cancer Survivor

Samantha is wife to fellow climber Asogan Pillay, and explains she found out about Trek4Mandela through the Nelson Mandela Foundation social media channels. "I was interested in their post about this expedition, and was an avid follower in the 2015 climb. This expedition truly gave me a feeling of overcoming obstacles, and it was since 2015 that I decided I want to take part in this adventure. It quickly became one of my personal challenges considering all my health issues," she says. "Today, I am prepared to conquer Mount Kilimanjaro. I look forward to this journey and reaching Uhuru Peak - the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro - with Asogan and the Trek4Mandela team. It is proof that together we can, as Madiba’s vision for South Africa, overcome any mountain that stands before us.

SMS "Lizaan" to 42513

Lizaan de Jongh – Channel Account Manager at SEACOM

"My first motivation for wanting to take on this journey is that it is always and honour and an amazing feeling to be able to give back to others," she says. "Climbing Kilimanjaro is not only about supporting this fantastic cause, Caring4Girls, but so much more. Summiting Kilimanjaro contributes to the growing of Tanzania’s local economy by creating jobs in a region that remains one of the poorest on Earth. I also believe that to summit Kili with a group of people I work with, would be an amazing feat. This kind of trip builds relationships that last forever and helps one to understand that you are not alone and will always need and appreciate the support of others. These kinds of skills will be ones that not only play a huge role in my day-to-day life, but are also vital in this corporate environment. I have always been one to challenge myself and I feel that this journey will be the ultimate test in personal growth and self-awareness."

SMS "Kelly" to 42513

Kelly Cowlard-Crofton – Head of Service Operations at SEACOM

Kelly has always wanted to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro, and when the opportunity came up to climb in support of the Caring4Girls initiative, she jumped at the challenge. "The process of training for the climb and raising money for the girls has been so much more than I ever thought, and I feel so blessed to have had this cross my path," says Kelly. "We have met so many different, diverse people, been exposed to some different experiences and I already feel like I have grown from the experience, even before climbing the mountain. Its been a very humbling and gratifying experience so far." When Kelly isn’t working and trying to make customers happy, she is traveling, gardening, running races and spending time with her family. 

SMS "Michael" to 42513

Michael Lawrence – Activist and Businessman 

Michael, 53, was born in District 6. He grew up in Zonnebloem, right next to District Six, and sees himself as a child of the mountain. Since being challenged in 2011 to find an activity that would allow his mind to settle, he annually takes time off from work and family to walk challenging routes and distances. For 2016 his goal is to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. He was inspired by the Trek4Mandela’s vision to summit the mountain on 18th July (Nelson Mandela’s birthday) and to raise awareness and funds for girls, with the Caring4Girls Project as the beneficiary. Michael is drawn to projects which have the potential to create momentum for sustainable change. He readily accepted the invitation to be involved with the Caring4Girls Project as a beneficiary of his hike up Mount Kilimanjaro. His wish is that this hike will bring new friends, shape great memories and most of all raise the public awareness which will encourage momentum for the support of this very worthy cause. 

SMS "Cas" to 42513

Cas Coovadia – Managing Director of the Banking Association South Africa

Cas is responsible for the operations of the BASA, which is the mandated representative of all licensed banks in South Africa, national and global. BASA employs 26 people and represents the industry in engagements with Government through advocating for a sound policy and legislative environment for sustainable banking business. Cas was instrumental in the conceptualisation and establishment of Community Bank in South Africa and is passionate about the area of access to financial services to the broad spectrum of people in South Africa. Cas decided to join the Trek4Mandela expedition because BASA has been a sponsor of the initiative for a number of years. He felt it would help the fundraising effort if he joined the expedition directly, and he looks forward to the challenge ahead.

SMS "Kagiso" to 42513

Kagiso – Founder and Chairperson of the Nayang Association

"My aspiration has always been to one day use my Research and Communications skills to become a humanitarian as well as a social entrepreneur to help the development needs of my community," says Kagiso. "I believe that I have the spirit, skills and the drive to contribute to my society. I believe that any one of us can be the change we want to see in the world, especially our communities. I believe that positive change, no matter how small is vital to the development of a society." Kagiso started the Nayang Association (www.nayangassociation.org) to aid and empower the under-privileged, especially school going children in our community in 2014. Nayang has a school shoes, clothing and a literature drive. She looks forward to supporting the Caring4Girls initiative in her first Kilimanjaro climb.

SMS "Gawie" to 42513

Gawie Herholdt – Organisational Effectiveness Executive at the South African Mint

My motivation for this trip is to give rather than receive.  Through this expedition, coordinated by the Trek4Mandela team, sanitary care will be provided for underprivileged girls. Being adventurous and always challenging myself, this trip will be a personal contest as well. Figuratively speaking, I have overcome many obstacles and climbed numerous mountains in my life, but this will be the true event. At 5 899 meters above sea level, summiting and conquering Kilimanjaro will be my ultimate goal. Sharing this experience with people who truly inspire me, with their zest for life, courage and upbeat spirit, will make this an unforgettable journey.    

SMS "Mona" to 42513

Mona Naidoo – Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions in the National Prosecuting Authority

Mona is an advocate and is employed as a Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions in the National Prosecuting Authority. She started her career as a prosecutor in January 1994. She currently specialises in tax crimes. Her purpose in working for the NPA is to provide excellent legal service to victims of crime. Through her work she brings awareness to the community and society at large that tax compliance ensures a better quality of life for everyone - the more money that flows into the fiscus the better services and facilities that can be provided to society. Mona has always looked for alternate ways to improve performance in her organisation and this is how her division became involved in the Trek4Mandela initiative. She knows that when people focus on a vision bigger than themselves,  they can unleash their genius and awaken their magnificence, which will lead to a better service to the community they serve.

SMS "Fulu" to 42513

Fulufhelo Ramulifho – Founder of Careers For A Powerful You

Rooted and established as a Social Entrepreneur, Transformational Leader, Creator, Hope Activator and Change Agent, Fulufhelo Ramulifho (also known as Fulu) is the founder and Acting Director of Careers For A Powerful You (C4U). Since 2013, Fulu has been running after school career guidance training workshops, girl child holiday camps, school visits and high impact career days in various communities. To date Fulu has reached out to over 20 000 learners in various regions throughout our country. Like the meaning of her name – "hope", Fulufhelo brings hope to many young people in South Africa just by telling her story of overcoming so many obstacles. She is a dealer in hope, pushing young people towards their destiny.

SMS "Thembi" to 42513

Thembi Khuzwayo 

A mother who envisions a thriving South African society and unlocking girls’ ability to carve a successful future for themselves through education and entrepreneurship. I’m equally passionate about Africa’s development and seek to contribute positively to achieving this. My main reasons for my Kilimanjaro journey are to mark my 40th birthday in an extraordinary and meaningful way, to symbolise the strength of a woman – there’s no better way for me to do this than to reach the Roof of Africa since I’m a child of African soil. Secondly, Trek4Mandela honours a human being I hold dearly – Nelson Mandela – a father (and now ancestor) who shifted the dial for a South African society whose future was not going to be defined by its past. Last but not least is the fulfilment of keeping our girls in school. You educate a girl, you educate a nation – I truly subscribe to this saying.

SMS "Melissa" to 42513

Melissa Rehbock – Buyer in the Fashion Industry 

"Caring4Girls has become an initiative very close to my heart, it is a cause I strongly believe in and would like to raise awareness for," says Melissa. "After getting involved with them I subsequently found out about the Kilimanjaro climb that takes place every year in conjunction with Trek4Mandela and I set my sights on it, and now it is a reality. It is a dream and a privilege to join Caring4Girls in this climb for the young girls of our country. It is imperative that we join together to Keep the Girl Child in School and supply them with the right product as well as education on menstruation. The most inspiring thing about Caring4Girls is that it was started by a man and he is saying to the young girls of our country that menstruation is okay and that they should not be ashamed of it. This is exactly what we need more of. Menstruation still to this day is deemed to be taboo by many societies and that’s a sad reality."

SMS "Ann" to 42513

Ann Wilson – Author and Speaker

Ann Wilson, also known as The Wealth Chef, is a best-selling author, speaker, entrepreneur and financial empowerment activist. One hundred percent of the royalties from her best-selling book, The Wealth Chef, are donated to The Small Enterprise Foundation - a foundation dedicated to eradicating poverty by empowering women through micro loans combined with financial literacy. As a captivating and inspiring speaker, Ann regularly addresses organisations about personal money leadership and creating wealth. She has been featured in The Sunday Times, The Sunday Express, Psychologies, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Woman’s Health, The Huffington Post among others and is regularly interviewed on radio and TV. 

SMS "Sibusiso" to 42513

Sibusiso Khanye – Credit Control at SEACOM

Sibusiso has always been involved in community projects within sport, encouraging sports and social cohesion in communities with low employment and level of education. "Sport can be a ticket out of poverty," he says. "My family has also initiated an outreach project which focuses on kids from disadvantage backgrounds in my village, since my community has a lot of orphans who have never had proper Christmas and true feel of the Christmas spirit. When I first received this invitation to become part of the expedition climbing Kili for a good cause, I didn't think twice and seized the opportunity. Climbing Kili has been on my wish list for a very long time, and is directly related to my passion – giving back to community and making a difference. I am very excited about this experience and grateful to SEACOM for affording me this great opportunity. Together we can do more – summit together and achieve our ultimate goal of keeping the girlchild in school!"

SMS "Tabisa" to 42513

Tabisa Nkomo – Management Accountant at Trentyre, Goodyear SA

I stumbled on #Caring4Girls while searching for a hiking group to join, as I was planning on doing Kilimanjaro for my 30th birthday last year. But my interest in the movement made me decide to join the group and do Kilimanjaro this year, and the thought of doing what I love and still give back to the community inspired me. Being a woman and being a mother got me thinking of issues in my home town, and how we never think about pads as a need the same way we think about basic needs. I know how people improvise during their cycles, I've witnessed it and was shocked. 

SMS "Kirk" to 42513

Kirk Bouffard – traveller 

Currently based out of Singapore, Kirk is a consummate traveler and adventurer, having lived and worked all around the world.  His first trip to South Africa is focused around the Trek4Mandela, as he believes strongly in creating lasting social impact like the Imbumba Foundation continually provides to their community.  

SMS "Zak" to 42513

Zachary Siddons – traveller 

Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio and currently based in Miami Beach, Florida. Zak is the owner of an Events and Hospitality Company that connects Festivals, Brands and Agencies. He has been involved in every aspect of planning, producing and executing successful Experiential Events. He works Music Festivals including: Ultra Music, Coachella, iHeart does large Corporate events for Audi, VW and executes stunts and marketing activations for Brands such as HGTV, ESPNU, Cartoon Network, AMC and Comedy Central. Occasionally, you may even find Zak emceeing an event.