First All-Women Team From Africa Set To Summit Everest
Four courageous South African women are preparing to summit Mt. Everest in April and May 2020 as the first all-women team from Africa to complete the climb, with the aim of fulfilling their long-held dreams and inspiring young women entrepreneurs to overcome metaphorical ‘mountains’ in their lives with the ‘courage to start and the strength to endure’ – the motto of the expedition.
The women, who are all both leaders and mountaineers, are Lisa Gering, Alda Waddell, Deshun Deysel, and Tumi Mphahlele, all from Johannesburg, with Ronnie Muhl, avid mountaineer and founder of Cape Town-based Adventures Global, managing the full logistics of the climb.
From the outset, the idea was always to be an all-women team, and the first from Africa to summit the world’s highest mountain – of which only a few South African women have ever achieved that. Gering, spokesperson for the team, explains, “Alda set her heart on climbing Everest and started the ball rolling. She contacted Deshun who said yes, as long as Ronnie Muhl manages the logistics. Ronnie recommended me to join the team, which I was excited and delighted to do. We knew we needed a fourth member and searched until we found Tumi, who is very experienced and perfect for the challenge.”
All the women have extensive mountaineering experience, trekking, hiking, climbing, and summiting the highest mountains in several continents, while Deshun and Tumi are also accomplished athletes in other sports.
The team is also fully committed to the cause behind the climb – inspiring, empowering and supporting women entrepreneurs. Gering says, “The Everest 2020 climb has a strong give-back element, and a percentage of our sponsorship will be going towards inspiring, supporting, and empowering women entrepreneurs – it’s where we all come from and it’s something we’re passionate about. We want them to know that they too can conquer the ‘Everests’ in their lives.”
Deysel adds, “Building up a business is like climbing Mt. Everest – it requiresmany hours of preparation, endurance, and sacrifice while staying focused on the long-term goal of success. As women entrepreneurs, we get it. We’ve been climbing our business Everests for many years and we understand the pain involved in making a business sustainable. As mountaineers, we have physically walked these journeys as well.
“Our mission is to highlight the plight of the woman entrepreneur in Africa by climbing the world’s highest mountain, and our hope is to inspire entrepreneurs, to relate to their everyday struggles, and create a positive narrative around the possibilities and victories that await those who give it their all.”