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Inspiration with Sibusiso Vilane

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Inspiration with Sibusiso Vilane

In May of 2019, I had begun my trek to Mt. Everest basecamp in Nepal.

It was Day 3 of the trek when I had made it to Tengboche, which sits at 3,860 m (12,660 ft). Walking into the dining room that evening I was suprised to see a company of South Africans whom I hadn’t seen during the trek. It was my pleasure to meet them and have dinner with none other than the first African to summit Mt. Everest, Sibusiso Vilane.

Sibusiso was a well spoken gracious man appearing in his late 40’s. He began to tell me his story – a story that I began to find relevant for our students. 

He began his saga as a safari warden in South Africa. During his time there he met an Englishman with an interest in climbing Mt.Kilimanjaro. Despite the height of Mt.Kilimanjaro, Sibusiso ascended the difficult mountain with great passion and skill. The Englishman found it remarkable and became truly impressed with his natural climbing ability. Through this new found acquaintance, Sibusiso would receive an offer to attempt a summit upon the highest mountain in the world. 

No other African in the world at that time had conquered the peak of Mt. Everest. He knew he had to do it, not for himself but to encourage his community and all Africans around the world.

On May 26, 2003, he stood mightily atop the peak of Mt. Everest looking upon the world from 8,848 m (29,029 ft)!

Accomplishing this is incredibly difficult. Software engineering, while different, shares it’s own continued stuggles and challenges every step of the way.

Realizing this he and I continued conversing after dinner. His message to our students was this:

“It doesnt matter where you come from or grow up, if you dare to dream beyond your limitations you can achieve amazing things. I have come from nowhere and yet have been to the top of mount Everest twice. Follow your heart and never give up!”

-Sibusiso Vilane

He stressed the importance of believing in yourself and your potential regardless of your surroundings, upbringing, or self-perception.

“In this, he has shown the heights we can all scale in life if we put our shoulder to the wheel and work at things without flagging. Sibusiso, you have done us proud!”

-President Thabo Mbeki ( second post-Apartheid President of South Africa )

Thank you to Sibusiso Vilane for a truly powerful message, one that any aspiring software engineer can live by.

Know no limits!

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