It is with a heavy heart we have to report that South African racing icon and all round good guy, Gugu Zulu, has died whilst climbing Mt. Kilamanjaro as part of the Nelson Mandela Foundation initiative, #Trek4Mandela.
Gugu Zulu and a team of 45 other South Africans, including his wife, set off to climb Mt Kilamanjaro in an effort to raise money for the Caring4Girls project – which aims to provide sanitary pads to under-privileged girls to enable them to stay in school and further their education. The climbers were set to reach the summit today, on Nelson Mandela day. But unfortunately, on July 16th, Gugu began to feel ill.
His last social media post came on the 16th stating, “Made it though day 2. 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!!”
In a statement from the Nelson Mandela Foundation, they stated, “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.”
Whilst there is no confirmation, it would seem Gugu Zulu was struck by altitude sickness on his way up.
Among his achievements, Gugu Zulu won the SA National Rally Class Championships in 2007, 2009 and 2010. He also won the Vodacom Isondo Sports 2000 national championship and has a Guinness Achievement Award under his belt. He has won the Wesbank Award and Goodyear Star of Tomorrow Award, and has been a regular feature on South African TV screens as a feature driver on Ignition GT. It was never officially confirmed, but some said he was even The Stig’s African Cousin.
Those that knew him would also know he was one of the friendliest guys around. He leaves behind a wife and daughter. Our thoughts are with his family through this trying time.
RIP Gugu Zulu – Local racing talent and genuinely good guy. You will be missed by friends and fans alike.