Monde Sitole, a 20-year old sailor and mountaineer originally from Ngqamakhwe in the Eastern Cape currently stays in Khayelitsha. Although living conditions back home weren’t life-threatening, the difficulties and adversity he often faced served as a catalyst to where he is today.
As a child, Monde dreamt of traveling around the globe and meeting new people. He was an explorer at heart, and loved escaping reality by getting lost in the forest and immersing himself in solitude, hearing nothing but the sound of the birds.
His dream of traveling became a reality when he summited Kilimanjaro in October 2010. Since then, he’s planned various hikes, and hopes to summit Aconcagua, Argentina later this year. He wants to climb the highest peaks in each continent and ski the North and South Poles. He also wants to climb all fourteen 8000 peaks – including K2 and Annapurna.
Sitole and his crew during their trip in Switzerland.Photo: Supplied by Monde Sitole
In December 2009, Monde took part in the Pangae Mike horn young explorers camp, held in Switzerland. Lectures at the camp focused on nature conservation, world affairs and responsible adventure made him realise the need for youth to come together and work towards a solution of making “mother earth” better.
This epiphany was the inspiration for his NGO, Great African Ascents, which focuses on nature conservation and youth development through mountaineering. This approach gives young people an alternative lifestyle while living in poor, marginalized communities.
In future, he plans to open an indoor rock climbing wall in Khayelitsha, called Dare2Dream. Their aim is to train young minds to reach high for their dreams no matter how small, big or absurd. They will use rock climbing to show these children that anything is possible regardless of the physical or emotional hurdles.
“I intend on firstly dedicating my time in doing talks across the country motivating young people and relating my story as I have been doing on previous platforms, such as Woolworths motivational talk and Sport Science Institute of South Africa. I have been selected as one of the adventurers to speak at the Cape Town FeatSa Conference to be held 12 February 2011 at Artscape,” Monde explained.
‘I will also continue with adventure doing other expeditions, continuing to push previously memorised limitations and etching the following words in the minds of young people that: it is not that things are difficult that we don’t dare, but things are difficult because we don’t dare,” he concluded.
We hope this story serves as an inspiration to many! Regardless of your age and background, with enough persistence and motivation, anything is possible. Be sure to visit the Cape Town FeatSa Conference and check out Monde’s website at Monde Walks.