Me pictured after finishing my last solo climb, number 366 on January 1st 2019
(In about 8 minutes of reading)
Climbing Table Mountain every day in 2018 was an idea inspiring me to bring people together focusing on what I can do; instead of on the problems.
This has never been done before and having completed it – I know why. It was the most taxing challenge on all levels: Physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Everything was tested – and I never had a days respite.
I had plenty of fears and doubts creeping in before and during – but I always knew with every cell in my body that I could achieve this to get peoples attention – and participate. And that was summit Table Mountain. Every. Single. Day.
The greatest lesson you can take away from this, is that all the power and strength it took for me to complete this – lies within you as well; and when you believe that? Will take your life from ordinary to extraordinary.
Below is my thank you letter I sent to all the investors of 365 Ubuntu Climbs. I’ve decided to share it in general too because doing something that’s never been done before, doesn’t happen in isolation. It takes a strategy of what you want to accomplish; how you plan to do that; what help do you need from others; and gratitude to appreciate being able to do all of it.
Here it is:
Thank you for taking action and empowering others, so that:
– 7 families now have a warmer home to come back to after work instead of a shack. – 30 new families will hear that their loved one has found a match because of the people added to the donor registry, and – 5 Schools have parents sleeping a bit easier knowing that their children are being taught to read through the books donated because of you.
It’s been a busy year, but that’s no excuse for writing so late – while I may be incredibly disciplined climbing a mountain every day, admin isn’t my strong point and procrastination is a daily battle. Apologies for taking so long to let you know about the final numbers and more importantly – to thank you.
Below I’ve included:
Media Coverage & stats
Links to each charity for continued support
Special mentions – The Monthly club and The Mandela Ubuntu Award
A year in numbers – stats
Cash Handover pictures
It’s hard to put 2018 and my gratitude into a letter. I cannot stress this enough – you were responsible for creating an incredible experience. By receiving this email, you’re in my deepest gratitude and will always hold a special part in my life.
365 Ubuntu Climbs wouldn’t have been nearly as soul inspiring without your participation. The 738 climbers that joined; the 500+ donations received and meeting the people we helped, taught me the essence and understanding of ‘Ubuntu’, and what it feels like when we work together. It was a humbling experience to be on the generous receiving end of time, money and spirit.
Together, we raised R 535 679,15 – split between The Sunflower Fund, Habitat for Humanity and One Heart for kids (including the R28 524 received in cash over the 12 months see below for handover pictures) These organisations continue to provide these services – if you’d like to keep supporting them, click on the links below:
The first stair and the final stair climbed – with 970 898 stairs climbed in-between
Thanks to all the media support, we managed to reach just shy of 56 million people (these are not absolute numbers) worth around R5.9 million in awareness, which essentially equals R17.7 million for the three companies. This excludes all the shares and posts you all did with your support. This reminds me that exposure alone is not enough. If it were and 1% of people donated R1 per climb, we’d have raised R16 800 000 every month. Take heart from these numbers because it shows whats possible when action is taken why it’s also important to bring others along with us. You made the difference.
When a house is built, we don’t expect the plumber to build the whole thing – so we shouldn’t be relying on governments alone to solve challenges.
Just look at what we achieved in a year that has long lasting implications to not just families today – but their generations to come. We’ve helped break the cycle of poverty. Most of you only know my name or my face through this project, but I’m certainly no island and last year wouldn’t have been possible without the special group of people I’m surrounded by: My Parents, My Sister and her family, my extended Family, My friends, and my girlfriend Jessie.
Initially, I included everyone that contributed to the success of 2018. At last count there were over 50 people – so I decided to leave that out and prevent this from becoming a short story. It’s another reason why currently writing my book is important to me: I get to share the details of all the incredible people and their efforts. From gifts across the oceans to international and local fundraising events done. From sending me on my way at 4:33am in person to messages of well wishes from afar – everything played its part in getting my weary legs over the finish line and my spirits high.
THE MANDELA CLUB
Considering this challenge took place in his 100th anniversary, it felt fitting to name this award after him. Going above and beyond is not always about the money. This group of people helped raise over R75 000. The people getting this award are:
Astrid Gillwald and the Crook family – the late Joshua Crook, his brother Matthew and mum Susan.
Joshua was introduced to me and the project simply because Astrid shared what I was doing with him in Australia. Astrid also invited me to speak at her Women’s Property Network events and spoke with Warren Brusse at SA Property Network, where I was invited to speak twice too. He was also part of the final day climbing party after multiple summits and donations.
Joshua and Susan shared my posts and story with people in person and online and Matthew even joined me on climb 110.
This is a powerful message, that its not about how much we donate individually – but how we get behind one another and share it within our own networks. You never know what may come of it.
A special memorial climb up Table Mountain was held on Australia Day this year, January 26th, in honour of Josh and his late wife Roxanne. Both families joined in an emotional tribute to two special souls.
My first climb, and sunrise on January 1st
The final view sunset 31st December, the perfect book end
THE MONTHLY CLUB
These 9 people donated every month:
Iwona & Jono Smit
John & Di Smale
Allan McCreadie (LA Barista mobile coffee company) Mark Giese Nixi Kennedy Kym & Karl hill Ragmah Solomon Lisa Thompson-Smeddle Gary Light Thank you for being a constant throughout my year and making me smile at the end of each month!
The magnificent view on my last climb at sunset – I loved seeing the flat shadow
BY THE NUMBERS:
The money raised is what I am most proud of; what I did to achieve that: is a very close second. I thought I’d share some interesting insights about the year below.
A MASSIVE thank you to Safety Mountain Tracking for always having a volunteer tracking us and ensuring everyone got off the mountain safely; as well as Cape Union Mart for their clothing sponsorship – the rain gear in particular was helpful beyond belief.
I climbed 970 900 stairs in 40 days 4 hours 18 minutes and 43 seconds on the mountain. I covered 2 429km – which is just 400km shy of walking the entire coastline of South Africa. I climbed a total of 262,8 vertical kilometers – the equivalent of 71 Mt Everest.
In 365 climbs:
175 – were solo climbs. 22 – Most solos in a month both January and August 9 – Most number of rainy climbs in a month, belongs to August (bear in mind this wasn’t the actual number of days it rained, just when I was rained on. Tried to avoid it where possible) 40 – Total number of rainy climbs 4 – most number of consecutive rainy climbs 1 in every 4.5 days – how much i averaged climbing up and down. 280 – Number of times used cable car. R2.29 – the cost of each cable car ride using their yearly pass. 125 – days climbing alone and using the cable car down – my fastest day was May 2nd climb 122 in 1:18:35. I did almost the same time a week later, on climb 129 – 1:18:58. 50 – days done alone up and down. My fastest climb was 1:55:50 on June 17th climb 168. 190 – days when people joined. 155 – number of times those climbs were just up and down cable car. We averaged 2:58:54 compared to 1:48:35 when I was alone. 35 – number of days joined going up and down, we averaged 3:54:17 compared to 2:39:18 when I was on my own. 9 – Most consecutive days alone (this was the end of June and 2 days in July) 12 – Most consecutive days with people (this was in December) 193 – days started early (before 8:30 – remembering sunrise in winter is just before 8am) 33 – days starting around 6am, most common time starting. 53 – days between 8:30 and midday 59 – days between 12 and 15:30 60 – days starting after 15:30 04:33 – Earliest start time (January 1st to watch sunrise up top) 18:07 – Latest start time (December 17th – I was on my own and would summit before dark) 22 – number of barefoot climbs.
I couldn’t go the entire year completing early morning climbs. Winter climbing was especially weather dependent and always tried to go when ‘safest’. This meant, especially in summer when heat demands climbs either start before 7am or after 15:30 – that sometimes I would do a late afternoon climb and then get up 12 hours later and do an early climb. Effectively two climbs in a day.
45 – number of times this happened, almost every week. 7 – most days in a month a late climb followed by an early one happened: December. 13 – Most consecutive early morning climbs (February 27th to March 11th) 7 – Most consecutive late afternoon climbs (January 26th to February 1st)
Picture 1: I picked a stone every day to represent the climb, the people joining, your donations made that day, and ultimately the people we empowered together.
This was the final rock picked to sit atop the Ubuntu pyramid. There’s a stone in there with your name on it.
Picture 2: The Ubuntu pyramid complete with the final triangular rock on top. It reminds me that just because you can’t see the first rock – doesn’t mean its not as important: it created the foundation.
The year was about inspiring people to see what can happen when we work together – now – and forever. But now is more important! Now that I know it’s possible, I will continue to work on expanding this idea. I wish you could meet the people who’s lives you’ve touched. Seeing and feeling the gratitude from another person because of how you’ve helped them is one of the most rewarding moments you can experience.
You Get What You Focus On
I chose to focus on what I could do – and you know what? All year I was surrounded by incredible human beings; because dickheads don’t want to get up early on their weekend to climb a mountain for someone else. Its not about ignoring what challenges we experience and living in a bubble – it’s about choosing to let go of what and who doesn’t serve you. Its your choice.
There are more movie critics than there are producers.
It’s easy to point out what others don’t do right. The real question is: what are you going to do that sets. Your. Soul. On Fire.
I believe in you – so take your first step today!