10-year-old Retshegofaditswe Hatang summits Kilimanjaro

The spirit of Nelson Mandela has inspired ten-year-old Retshegofaditswe Hatang to soar to new heights – to the very top of Mount Kilimanjaro to be exact.

“He started his summit on August 5 marking the day of Madiba's capture back in 1962 and summitted on August 9 celebrating Women's Day and MaSisulu's centenary,” his father – and the CEO of the Nelson Mandela Foundation, Sello Hatang – told New24 on Saturday.

Retshegofaditswe, or Tshego for short, explained that he was inspired to complete the incredible feat to raise funds for caring4girls programme which provides sanitary equipment for schoolgirls.

“My mom told me they miss school because of sanitary pads,” explained the budding social activist – adding that he hoped girls would now get the right assistance to be able to complete their education.

 He said that the highlight of the hike was “seeing the snow!”

Although very cold and tired, reaching the summit, was quite simply “great” he added.

Tshego said that his message to other young people was to “dream big and not give up on their dreams".

His father had been his biggest help on the expedition – and his message to his dad was: “Thank you and I love you.”

Hatang explained that Tshego had been hiking for about three years, exploring Drakensberg, Suikerbos, Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens and others. 

Hatang Junior and Senior were part of a team which was led by Sibusiso Vilane and included Samsung CEO Sung Yoon and Richard Mabaso, founder of the Imbumba Foundation which is involved in the provision of sanitary pads for schoolgirls. 

Hatang said he had learnt a lot from his son’s journey on the mountain:

“I learned that we must always encourage our children to achieve their hopes and dreams. We must not allow our spirit of giving up to influence them. During the summit, I tried three times to get him to quit as he was too cold.”

“I'm glad I listened to wise counsel from Sibusiso Vilane, Richard Mabaso and the guides. Particularly the three guides who carried him for part of the way when his feet couldn't carry him anymore.”

“They proved that at our lowest moments, we need others to carry us on their shoulders,” mused Hatang.