Gugu Zulu, 38, was a South African motorsports pioneer. The rally champion put his stamp on a predominantly white sport. His race car driving led to other opportunities such as television presenting (on SABC 3’s Car Torque) speaking engagements and a public life as a recognised sports figure. Born in Soweto in 1978, Gugu Zulu began his career on the track in 1999 after graduating from the Isondo Racing Academy. Zulu was a three-time national rally champion, having won in 2007, 2009 and 2010. He was a VW-sponsored driver also worked as the commercial manager for the South African A1 team.
Zulu died on Monday, July 18, after having a problem breathing while climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. He, along with his wife Letshego Zulu, was one of a number of South Africans taking on the challenging summit as part of the “Trek4Mandela” challenge that aims to raise funds for an orgaisation called “Caring4Girls,” which gives disadvantaged girls access to menstrual hygiene products that way they won’t have to miss school during their periods.
The cause of death is currently unknown. A public statement issued by the Nelson Mandela Foundation says the details of Zulu’s passing are “sketchy. What we do know is that Gugu experienced problems breathing. The medical team supporting the trek put him on a drip and they descended the mountain with him. We are informed that the medical teams tried everything possible to save his life.”
Zulu is survived by his wife of two years and their young daughter who turned 1 in June, 2016.
Listen to Zulu’s friends and colleagues pay their respects to him on 180 With Bob:
Prominent South Africans share their messages for Gugu Zulu’s family:
— RSA Min of Sport (@MbalulaFikile) July 18, 2016
— TheJammer (@bob959) July 18, 2016
#RIPGuguZulu thoughts and prayers to his family and the rest of the climbers on Kilimanjaro.
— Sandile van Heerden (@SandilevHeerden) July 18, 2016
Yesterday was really tough. I somehow summited. Then came down to the heartbreaking news that a dear friend was gone pic.twitter.com/h7O7eQuUbG
— OG Molefe (@OG_Molefe) July 19, 2016
— Topbilling (@SABC3Topbilling) July 18, 2016