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Sibusiso Vilane

On Thursday 12 April 2012, Sibusiso Vilane became the first South African, and the first black person in the world, to complete the Three Poles Challenge, when he arrived at the North Pole. Sibusiso overcame the harsh environment and a 112km trek on foot to achieve a life-long ambition. He has already conquered Mount Everest, the Andes, and the South Pole.

On Thursday 17 January 2008 Sibusiso Vilane and his partner Alex Harris were the first South Africans to complete an unsupported and unassisted walk from Hercules Inlet, on the edge of Antarctica, to the Geographic South Pole! They walked 1113 km in 65 days in temperatures ranging between -8°C and -40°C, dragging their 130kg supply sleds all the way. The men walked through a 10-day “white-out” during which it snowed continually.

It was due to this incredible adventure that Sibusiso and Alex were named the 2007 “Out There” magazine Adventurers of the Year’, beating out other legendary international adventurers such as Mike Horn, Lewis Pugh and Kingsley Holgate for the title.

Sibusiso completed his O levels at the Mater Dolorosa school in Swaziland and began his career as a game ranger at Malolotja Nature Reserve in 1993. In 2001 he decided to broaden his horizons and joined Conservation Corporation Africa’s Bongani Mountain Lodge, where is still a game ranger.

While ranging in Swaziland in 1996, he met John Doble, who would turn out to be 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, successfully summitting Cathedral Peak, Mont-aux-Sources, Sterk Horn and Cleft Peak, all 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 000m high, as part of his training for the Everest expedition.

In March of 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, Queen of the Himalayas – Everest … which he summitted successfully on May 26th 2003, becoming the only black person to ever do so!

Still driven by passion, Sibusiso again made history, summitting Mt. Everest for the second time in two years on 3 June 2005 and becoming the first black African to climb the world's highest peak twice and by two different sides.

What our clients say ...

"Sibusiso was absolutely inspiring. His story is authentic and full of humility. I found the principles and lessons he shared most applicable to our work and personal challenges and they have been on my mind a lot over the last week. Sibu is not only a remarkable individual but an a real life example of what is possible when you know where you going and why!"
Amanda Breytenbach, Unilever

"An absolutely inspiring talk, that really showed that anything is possible if you put your mind to it. Also key is to ‘never give up’, and that every challenge in life just prepares you for the next one. Sibusiso is not only brilliant, but humble, a quality that is so refreshing and evident in how he talks about his journey. A truly thought provoking and motivating achiever!"
Angela Klute, Unilever

“When Sibu started speaking, my initial thought was 'How can this softly spoken man inspire anyone?' How wrong I was. Sibu soon had the whole audience gripped by his story. We were all inspired by his perseverance, dedication, pride in his country and culture, but most of all, by his humility. I would definitely recommend him as a speaker to any audience”
Shelagh Goodwin, People Management, Media42

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Sibusiso Vilane