students peak Kilimanjaro

Siyabonga Africa

Siyabonga Africa

Six students from Life College in Johannesburg received a cheery welcome when they landed at OR Tambo International Airport from their expedition to Mount Kilimanjaro yesterday.

About 50 fellow students in the international arrivals hall broke into song and cheered as their mates emerged from the restricted area.

The young mountaineers could not contain their joy when they came out.

"I feel great," shouted Darren Billings, 19, one of the climbers.

"We prepared well by walking and getting cardio-training from a gym in Randburg and really worked hard."

Xolile Ndlovu, 20, another climber, said the six students conquered the highest peak in Africa as part of their entrepreneurial training.

"We had to raise the money ourselves, by drafting proposals and organising meetings with sponsors," she said.

We had to also find ways to ensure that the sponsors got something out of the whole project."

One of the sponsors, Standard Bank, gave R250000 to the project.

Standard Bank group marketing manager Zakiyah Khan said the bank was looking at aiding initiatives that supported and empowered the youth.

"The youth is our future," she said.

Life College is a non-governmental organisation with five campuses in Gauteng.

It has been in existence for years, its chief executive, Pat Pillay, said.

"When my son was born I realised that schools could offer only so much," Pillay said.

She said Life College focused on providing its students with character and leadership education they could apply in real-life projects such as the recent "Summit my Kilimanjaro".

Thandile Meyiswa, a facilitator at Life College, said the students believed that if they could climb Kilimanjaro, they could conquer anything.

"They will now use this climb as a metaphor for their lives," she said.