Sibusiso is an accomplished and popular motivational speaker who continues to speak all over South Africa, and encourages all people to attempt their own Everest, touching people everywhere with his warmth and humility.
Motivational and inspirational speaker, mountaineer and expedition guide and leader Sibusiso was born at Shongwe Mission in Mpumalanga, South Africa. His South African father and Swazi mother moved the family to Swaziland and that’s where Sibu was eventually schooled (from the age of 11). After a stint as a labourer, and drawing on his experienced as a goatherd, Sibu began his working career as a game ranger in Swaziland in 1993. In 1996 he met John Doble who became a great friend and benefactor, and who was instrumental in finding the necessary sponsorship for Sibusiso's Everest summit expedition.
Sibusiso started climbing in 1996 by summitting peaks in the Drakensberg. In 1999 he summitted Kilimanjaro and went on to the Himalayas in 2002, successfully climbing Pokalde, Lobujé and Island Peak, all of which are over 6 000 metres high, as part of his training for the Everest expedition.
In March 2003, Sibusiso set off for the Himalayas again in his quest to be the first black African to summit earth's largest and most fearsome mountain, Everest, the Queen of the Himalayas. He summitted successfully on 26 May 2003.
On that day, South African President Thabo Mbeki congratulated him on his achievement and grit. “In this, he has shown the heights we can all scale in life if we put our shoulder to the wheel and work at things without flagging. Sibusiso, you have done us proud!” (In 2006 Sibusiso was awarded the Order of Ikhamanga (Bronze) by President Thabo Mbeki. Technically he can sign his name 'SibusisoVilane, OIB'.)
Sibusiso is one of a handful of South Africans, and the first black African, to achieve the feat of becoming members of the Seven Summits club. The Seven Summits are the seven highest peaks on each of the seven continents:
- Kilimanjaro (Africa) 1999
- Everest (Asia) 2003 and 2005
- Aconcagua (South America) 2006
- Elbrus (Europe) 2006
- Carstensz Pyramid (Oceania) 2006
- Vinson (Antarctica) 2006
- Denali/McKinley (North America) 2008
On 17 January 2008, Sibu and his Team Extreme partner, Alex Harris, became the first South Africans to walk to the South Pole completely unassisted. In early 2012 Sibu completed the Three Poles Challenge when he trekked to the North Pole. (The Three Poles are the North Pole, the South Pole and Everest.)
Sibusiso’s irrepressible spirit and infectious enthusiasm for life inspires and uplifts people of all backgrounds and circumstances, and especially children. As a professional speaker, his message is simple: every person has their own “Everest” to climb. Whether you’re prepared for it or not, it’s there - challenging you to reach the top. And if he can do that in the most dangerous and inhospitable of conditions and against all the odds so, he suggests, can you.
Since 2006, Sibusiso has been the African ambassador for Lifeline Energy. He dedicated the 1,113 kilometres he trekked to the South Pole, in some of the worst conditions imaginable, to the children of South Africa. In May 2008, as a result of this generous act and hundreds of sponsors supporting Sibu, Lifeline Energy was able to provide 300 Lifeline radios to children from the Nkomazi district, where Sibu was born.
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