With his mother’s determined spirit and the mountains as his school, mountaineer Monde Sitole opens new paths for our youth.

For mountaineer and adventurer Monde Sitole, the determined spirit he was born with and the guidance he received as a child, helped to conquer overwhelming odds. After two misfortunes with prior pregnancies, his mother was advised that she could not give birth again but she and her baby had their own ideas.

Born in Nyanga East in a tent but having grown up in Khayelitsha, Monde is acutely aware of the struggles faced in the townships. 

Monde shares that one of his biggest dreams was to be a mirror of what human potential is all about and to show people their true potential, and that’s exactly what he’s busy doing.  

“What climbing represents to me is what musicians say about music, that it saved their life. I would say mountain climbing saved my life,” shares the mountaineer.

Monde has already climbed Mount Elbrus in Russia, Denali in Alaska and Kilimanjaro in Kenya. It’s part of his Dare to Dream mission to conquer the seven summits, the highest peaks on each of the seven continents. 

He adds, “We started Desert Rose Adventure Club with the purpose to inspire kids who come from extreme backgrounds, and we thought that extreme sports is a beautiful and direct catalyst to solve the problems of the townships.”

Now, almost a thousand young people like Moses Zolani Maciko are introduced to such sports, spurring new thinking and different paths forward.

“I met Monde when I was in grade 9. While I was studying he would advise, mentor and encourage me, so he put my life straight,” shares Moses. 

They train every weekend, offering a constant in the midst of continuous change – and it does make the difference.

Walking through his burdens, when Monde lost his mother last year, he decided that climbing the final leg of Everest without oxygen would be the right eulogy to her spirit.

“Being on the mountain comes with the realisation that it’s not the mountain that you conquer but yourself. I believe that nature teaches us consciousness and that we’re not human beings having a spiritual experience, we’re spiritual beings having a human experience. And it’s now more important than ever to become more conscious of our decisions and how we treat one another because nature is consciousness,” states Monde.

For Vuyisa Mbaba the key to any of that vision or perspective taking root in one’s mind is getting to see this fantastic change of scene.

“Hiking is like life. You just need to put in the effort to overcome what you want to overcome. Compared to in Khayelitsha we’re living in a clustered society where there’s no time or space for someone to realise or to know himself better because we’re being influenced by the surroundings of Kayelitsha,” explains Vuyisa.   

We asked what’s next for Monde, to which he replied Mount Everest. It’s his calling which has given him meaning and purpose; with that he strongly advocates for others to dig deep and find their true calling too. 

As good a start as any is deciding to go walkabout in Nature, and from there, to keep walking until all becomes clear.

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