Join us to light a candle on Kilimanjaro

A candle on Kilimanjaro

Africa’s rise is in full swing, and it’s time to light a candle, and go and put it on the top of Kilimanjaro.

By Leon Louw, Director of Endorphin Expeditions  

When we get time to take a breath and reflect, it’s good to have a bird’s eye view. A view of the past and a view of the future.

Africa’s development and progress over the last twenty to thirty years has been significant.  It doesn’t always feel that way when being caught up in studying and analysing events every single day. But when one looks back to where we’ve come from, the trend is undoubtedly upward.

Amidst all the rapid change, there are a few natural heritage sites in Africa that has stood the test of time and survived the turbulent history of a restless continent. These sites embody the achievements of nature and stand out as beacons of hope in an ever-changing world.

David Martin wrote in 1999: “For everyone who has heard of Kilimanjaro there is a reason for remembering the mountain. Mine is rooted in the history of the past 50 years; a vision and dream to be realised, not a mountain to be conquered.”

Kilimanjaro is the highest point of Africa and one of the highest free-standing mountains in the world. It comprises three extinct or dormant volcanoes: Kibo (5,895m), Mawenzi (5,149m) and Shira (3,962m). Kilimanjaro rises 4800m from the plains, covers four square kilometres and at its widest is 40km across (source: Kilimanjaro Tanzania: Land, People, History – Into Africa Travel Guide).

A candle on Kilimanjaro

On 22 October 1959, Julius Nyerere then leader of the Chama Cha Mapinduzi party and later the first president of Tanzania, expressed lofty sentiments in a speech to the Tanganyika Legislative Assembly emphasising his party’s demand that majority self-government replace British colonial rule.

“We, the people of Tanganyika would like to light a candle and put it on top of Mount Kilimanjaro, which would shine beyond our borders giving hope where there was despair, love where there was hate, and dignity where before there was only humiliation,” said Nyerere.

Nyerere’s speech would be followed by an avalanche of earth-shattering events that would change the course of history in Africa forever. All these changes happened in the shadow of towering Kilimanjaro presiding over events forever etched in the continent’s collective memory.

When Nyerere made his speech, only nine African nations were independent namely Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Libya, Morocco, Sudan, Tunisia, and Egypt. Today that number is 54.

Tanzania was synonymous with the struggle to liberate southern Africa. Leaders such as Eduardo Mondlane, Samora Machel and Joaquim Chissano from Mozambique, Agostinho Neto from Angola, J.Z. Moyo, Edward Ndlovu, George Silundika and George Nyandoro from Zimbabwe, Sam Nujoma from Namibia and Oliver Tambo from South Africa, lived or regularly visited Tanzania.

All these leaders shared one common vision: the liberation of their countries. And they shared a common supporter: Tanzania’s Nyerere, his vision shining out from Kilimanjaro.

Africa at a critical juncture

Today, Africa is at a critical juncture in its history as the rest of the world desperately seeks alternative supply chains and raw materials to re-ignite ailing economies. Amidst increased international tension and geopolitical volatility, Africa’s rise is in full swing, and it is time to light that candle and go and put it on the top of Kilimanjaro.

“For President Nyerere, the quest for unity, both nationally and continentally, was a lifetime undertaking and commitment, the lifeline for the emancipation and development of African people. To him, Pan-Africanism meant self-determination in political, economic, ideological, social and cultural spheres.” (source: African Journal of International Affairs)

To keep Africa’s candle burning, WhyAfrica with its sister company Endorphin Expedtions, will attempt to summit Kilimanjaro in the final week of our 2024 Road trip through South Africa, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Malawi, and Tanzania.

During the 2024 Road Trip we will cover close to 9000km, attempt to visit six African countries and about 30 project sites, interview close to 40 stakeholders in 45 days and tell you, our members, readers and followers, the real African story.

Our ascent starts at the foothills of Kilimanjaro on 26 August 2024 and we hope to summit a week or so later. We will be joined by a number of students and geologists, but we still have a lot of spaces available for those of you who would like to light Africa’s candle with us.

If you are interested in joining our group, please contact us before the end of April. There are obviously great sponsorship and advertising opportunities available as well, so if your company has made a difference in Africa, plan to do so in the future and would like us to tell your story, contact us asap! Let’s keep Africa’s, and Pan-Africanism’s light burning bright!

A candle on Kilimanjaro
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