RIP Gugu Zulu

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Today is Mandela Day. It’s a day whereby many take the time out of their busy schedules to dedicate 67 minutes to the memory, the legacy of our beloved late Madiba. And while many will continue to take the time out to do good for our fellow South Africans, it’s turned out to be a very sad day for the sporting and lifestyle fraternity too.

Race car driver, family man and all-around amazing human, Gugu Zulu has died. The star, together with his wife Letshego and a couple of others were climbing Kilimanjaro in aid of the #Trek4Mandela campaign. The details around his death aren’t clear as yet, but the news was confirmed by the Nelson Mandela Foundation earlier:

Date: 18 July 2016

From: Nelson Mandela Foundation

It is with a heavy heart that we announce that one of the climbers on the Trek4Mandela, Gugu Zulu lost his life early this morning in his attempt to summit Kilimanjaro.

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.

Details are sketchy. What we do know is that Gugu experienced problems breathing. 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 we understand that they both descended the mountain together with Richard Mabaso, the project leader and the medical teams. The team was led by experienced mountaineer, Sibusiso Vilane.

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

This was Gugu’s last post on his Facebook page on 16 July:

“Made it though (stet) day2. My wife is doing fabulous, she has even learnt the local language. Am having flu like symptoms and struggling with the mountain but taking it step by step!! Today we managed to see our destination and our camp is literary above the clouds!!”

The Nelson Mandela Foundation will share more information once we get further details from Tanzania.

The climbers were due to summit Kilimanjaro today, for Mandela Day.

I can honestly say he was one of the nicest, calm and friendly gentlemen I have ever known. Always so polite, always greeted, gave great interviews and glowed/ gushed when he spoke about his beloved Letshego and their daughter. My heart breaks for them. Keep them in your thoughts today and the days to come. Gugu, you were an amazing soul and your adventures inspired many of us to be the best we could be. Rest in peace, sir!

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