The Hairy Legged Lentil Eaters
The Gala Dinner this year boasts music by the “Hairy Legged Lentil Eaters”. Variously described as a “collective multiple personality disorder” and “the most eclectic folk band this side of the Limpopo”, the Hairy Legged Lentil Eaters are a bunch of very different people having fun with music. As individuals the Hairies resemble a schizophrenic jumble sale but together they make music that you can wear to any party.
Visit their website for more information: The Hairy Legged Lentil Eaters on Facebook
Sibusiso Vilane, Order of Ikhamanga (OIB)
Thursday 7 November 2013
|Motivational and inspirational speaker, mountaineer, expedition guide and author Sibusiso Vilane was born at Shongwe Mission in Mpumalanga, South Africa. His family moved to Swaziland where Sibusiso was eventually schooled (from the age of 11). After a stint as a labourer, and drawing on his experience as a goatherd, Sibusiso began his working career as a game ranger in Swaziland in 1993. In 1996 he met British diplomat John Doble who became a great friend and benefactor, and who was instrumental in finding the necessary sponsorship for Sibusiso’s first Everest summit expedition.
Sibusiso started climbing in 1996 by summiting peaks in the Drakensberg. In 1999 he summited Kilimanjaro and went on to the Himalayas in 2002 to successfully climb Pokalde, Lobujé and Island Peak. All of these peaks are over 6,000 metres high, and formed part of his training. 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 summited successfully on 26 May 2003 and became the first black person to achieve this feat.
On that day, then South African President Thabo Mbeki congratulated him for his achievement and grit. ‘In this, [Sibusiso] 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. (This is why Sibusiso can sign his name ‘Sibusiso Vilane, OIB’!) In 2005 Sibusiso invited Sir Ranulph Fiennes and fellow South African climber and Team Extreme partner, Alex Harris, to join him in summiting Mount Everest from the North Ridge the more difficult and statistically less successful side. This achievement meant that he was now the first black person to climb the world’s highest peak twice and by two different routes. Three children’s charities benefitted from his climb: The Birth to Twenty Research Programme at Wits University, the Africa Foundation and the SOS Children’s Village in Swaziland.
Sibusiso is one of only a handful of South Africans, and the first black African, to achieve the feat of summiting the Seven Summits, the seven highest peaks on each of the seven continents: Mt. Kilimanjaro (Africa) – summited 1999 (and many more times since); Mt. Everest (Asia) – 2003 and 2005; Mt. Aconcagua (South America) – 2006 (four times subsequently);. Mt. Elbrus (Europe) – 2006; Carstensz Pyramid (Indonesia, Oceania) – 2006; Mt. Vinson (Antarctica) – 2006; Mt. Denali/McKinley (North America) – 2008
On 17 January 2008, Sibusiso and Alex Harris became the first South Africans to walk to the South Pole completely unassisted.
For the past few years Sibusiso has been involved in leading corporate climbs and adventures, both in South Africa (the Drakensberg, etc), Africa (Kilimanjaro) and abroad (Aconcagua, South America). In January 2012 he helped South Africa’s youngest person summit Aconcagua (at age fifteen). Sibusiso has also accompanied John Doble to the top of Mont Blanc and in 2012 he summited one of the notorious Snow Leopard peaks in Kyrgyzstan. Most recently (July and August 2013) Sibusiso summited Kilimanjaro for charity (Trek4Mandela) and the Eiger in the Alps, both within 10 days of each other. Sibusiso is a fullyfledged member of the British Alpine Society (an enormously prestigious achievement for any adventurer). In November 2012 he was received by the Queen at Buckingham Palace, along with his friend Sir Randulph Fiennes and other high profile adventurers, in celebration of the achievements of exploration and adventure.
Sibusiso’s successful expedition to the North Pole (the ‘last degree’) in April 2012 means that he can add the Poles Challenge (North, South, Everest) to his achievements. In late 2012 he was recognised for his achievements by being included in the Department of Sports and Recreation’s ‘Little Green Book of the 100 most influential sportspeople’. In 2013 he was nominated for a South African Sports Award (nominated in the ‘Recreational Body’ category).
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. Sibusiso is an accomplished and popular motivational speaker who continues to speak all over South Africa, touching people everywhere with his warmth and humility. His passion is to talk to as many young people as possible, in as many schools as possible. He tells them not only to dream, but to never give up on their dreams believe in them and go for them wholeheartedly. The challenges of organising and successfully completing expeditions are, in many ways, very similar to business challenges. We all want to get to the top of our mountains, whatever they are, and Sibusiso inspires guests to do just that with his engaging and entertaining presentations. Each of Sibusiso’s signature talks is backed by a Powerpoint presentation, complete with breathtaking images from his expeditions. To take a step further to reaching the summit of your next mountain, invite Sibusiso to speak at your next business conference, club meeting, training seminar or social function.
Sibusiso has been the African ambassador for Lifeline Energy (formerly the Free Play Foundation) since 2006 (www.lifelineenergy.org). He dedicated the 1,113km he trekked to the South Pole, in some of the worst conditions imaginable, to the children of South Africa. As a result of this generous act and hundreds of sponsors supporting Sibusiso, Lifeline Energy was able to provide 300 Lifeline radios to children from the Nkomazi district, where Sibusiso was born. “The future entirely depends on the education of children, their access to information to broaden their thinking and understanding of the everchanging and challenging world,” says Sibusiso.
Sibusiso has also been a patron of the Endangered Wildlife Trust’s Conservation Leadership organisation. Sibusiso founded a running club called Born to Win and regularly competes in marathons and ultramarathons such as the Comrades (his fifth in 2013) and the Soweto Marathon, and has completed the Duzi. He also hosted a radio show ‘My Climb, Your Climb’ on 1485 Radio Today in which he interviewed black achievers about the challenges they faced and overcame in their careers and lives.
Published by Aardvark Press in 2008, Sibusiso’s book To the Top from Nowhere was selected by Exclusive Books for their 2009 Homebru campaign. The deceptively slim volume is packed with inspiration and fascinating insights into Sibusiso’s two Everest climbs. It retails for R125 incl VAT but discounts are available for bulk corporate purchases. Sibusiso is currently working on his next book.
His family is very important to Sibusiso. He has been married to Nomsa since 1995 and is the proud father
of four three girls and a young prince. He also supports his sister’s youngsters. He lives in Nelspruit, Mpumalanga, but travels regularly to lead expeditions and to speak to corporate and public audiences.