Celebrating SA Freedom on Top of The World | Western Cape Government

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Celebrating SA Freedom on Top of The World

24 March 2004
"The people of the Western Cape are proud to be South African, and even prouder to celebrate what our country and our people have achieved in the first Decade of Freedom. In so many ways since 1994, we have climbed our own mountain, and having reached the summit, we must share our excitement with the world." These were the words of Western Cape Premier, Marthinus van Schalkwyk, addressing members of the media at an event on Thursday to officially receive the three climbers from the Western Cape who will leave in the next ten days to travel to Mount Everest.

"Andre Bredenkamp, Chris Drummond and Mike Nixon are the only climbers from South Africa to have been granted permits to climb Mount Everest this year," said the Premier. "I am very proud therefore to present to them a flag to carry on their journey - bearing the symbol of our celebrations of the first Decade of Freedom."

The three follow in the footsteps of explorers like Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay who were the first recorded climbers to reach the summit in May 1953. Since that time about 1200 people have successfully reached the top of the world's highest mountain - although nearly 200 have died on its slopes.

"South Africa last year saluted Sibusiso Vilane and Sean Wisedale, who together with Cathy O'Dowd and Bruce Herod (who climbed in 1996), are the only South Africans ever to have reached the summit," said the Premier. "Today we entrust to the care of these three Capetonians the hopes and best wishes of all our people."

The trio have chosen the less travelled North Face route, starting in Tibet - both because it is more remote and more challenging. They will be part of an international team of ten climbers lead by American, Dan Mazur. They will spend over six weeks on the slopes of the mountain to prepare for the climb, and will make their bid for the summit in late May. All three climbers recently climbed another two of the world's highest peaks - Aconcagua (South America's highest) and Mount Elbrus (the highest peak in Europe).

Enquires: Riaan Aucamp
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