She believed she could, so she did


What is your purpose?
Psychologists have been studying how long-term meaningful goals that can potentially change the lives of others give us our sense of purpose in life. Once you find your purpose, it is valid for you and you alone. They also found that purpose grows from our connection to others. You may find others on this path as well, hoping to reach the same destination as you – making a positive impact.

Saray Khumalo, Head of eCommerce & Partner Management at Multiply, found her purpose at the top of mountains, in pursuit of achieving something greater for her community and the world.

When her sister, who had been living in Thailand, passed away, she began to reflect and introspect on what her sister had left behind. How could her life be summed up? What did she leave on earth? This marked the beginning of a journey of soul-searching and wanting to live a life of true meaning.

Finding purpose
While on a trip overseas, she found a group of people who had stories to tell about Mount Kilimanjaro, and she felt, as an African, it’s a story she should be telling as well, as an African story. So from there, climbing mountains with the aim of encouraging education and literacy became her purpose. 

Through her Seven Summits with a Purpose climbing initiative, she has helped the Mandela Libraries to raise approximately R800 000 in funds, which has been used to build four Mandela libraries in South Africa. Further, she has helped Kids Haven children home to build an outdoor gym and convert one of the rooms into a library, while her initiatives have also helped the Lunchbox Fund to raise enough money to feed 60 000 children.

From township to boardroom
Saray draws inspiration from where she grew up, raised by her parents, and a strong grandmother who grew crops to feed the community around her. She knew that she wanted to create a world similar to the one she grew up in – where women and mothers like hers expected nothing in return for uplifting and caring for the community. “While the men were away, it’s the women who kept up the livelihood of our homes and the community. Women have always been strong and able, even in the absence of men.” says Saray.

Saray says that the gift of life motivates her to take the next step. She recently had a mountain biking accident which left her in a coma for three weeks. Her accident highlighted the fragility of life and, ever since, she is of the view that for as long as we are breathing, we should use life for the right purpose – and this prompts her to keep aiming higher.

Her advice for women today, with their own personal mountains to overcome:
Your gender shouldn’t be an issue, where you come from shouldn’t be an issue, how much you have shouldn’t be an issue. If you believe in yourself, everyone else will believe in you. Are you aware of your own reality and your own environment? For me, education changed the game and took me from the township to the boardroom. So find what’s true to you and make it your purpose.