Gugu Zulu known fondly in racing circles as ‘the fastest brother in Africa’ has died while climbing mount Kilimanjaro for the sake of charity.
His death was a heavy blow to a lot of people who were inspired by his life.
The charity was linked to the Nelson Mandela Foundation and they announced his death in a blog post which you can peruse below;
“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.”
Zulu began his racing career in 1999 following his graduation from the Isondo Racing Academy. He won many racing titles including the Vodacom Isondo Sports 2000 national championship and many sporting awards.
He also became well known in South Africa in 2008 after appearing on the TV dance competition programme Strictly Come Dancing.
South Africans are tweeting condolence messages and remembrances of Gugu Zulu, the 38-year old who everyone agrees died much too young.