no rest for vilane

Siyabonga Africa

Siyabonga Africa

It is back to the slopes for Sibusiso Vilane as he leads a group of 40 Shell employees to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro.

Vilane was part of the duo that made history by being the first South Africans to reach the South Pole unaided on January 18.

After his return, Vilane did not spend more than four days at home with his wife Nomsa and their sickly 10-month-old baby girl before he had to fly off to Tanzania yesterday.

Nomsa says Vilane should have spent at least two to three weeks with the family. Yet due to a delay with his flights, he only came back a few days ago.

Gareth Roberts, Vilane's agent, explains that Alex Harris, who also walked to the South Pole, and Vilane were held up at Punta Arenas for a week when they were heading to the Antarctic and also when they were heading back.

It didn't help that Vilane had been booked six months in advance to lead the climb up Kilimanjaro.

Dennis Matsane, the communications manager at Shell South Africa, says that the aim of the climb is to highlight the plight of 11 million Aids orphans in Africa.

Forty Shell employees from all over Africa volunteered for the climb that will be led by Vilane.

Xavier le Mintier, the head of Shell in Africa, also joined the team that flew off to Arusha, Tanzania, yesterday. The money raised from the climb will be donated to community-based orphanages.

Matsane added that the climb was decided on during a meeting where the extended leadership team committed to meeting challenging business targets for 2007.

"They referred to this as the Kilimanjaro Challenge," he said.