Founder of 365 Ubuntu, Andrew has put together an innovative crowdfunding campaign in the hope to transform one million lives in 365 days. Every day in 2018, Andrew hikes up Table Mountain to raise funds for three non-Profit organisations, Habitat for Humanity, Sunflower Fund and One Heart Foundation.
I had the great privilege of asking him 5 Questions.
You started out with a marketing degree and spent a few years in the beverage industry dealing with all kinds of aspects of that business as category manager in quite a corporate environment. Was there a specific moment which made you decide to turn your attention to dedicating your life to raising funds for others or what was your process?
The biggest catalyst was being retrenched in June 2017, but the 2 years preceding that I was starting to lose faith in the industry. Fortuitously, while working there I was introduced to 5 non-profits, that I then actively participated in fundraising.
This gave me perspective of challenges we face and what we can do to help. I was always left feeling far more fulfilled after these activities than any of my accomplishments in category management.
Empowering others was instilled in me from my parents and grandparents – becoming fully dedicated to this was thanks to the retrenchment.
Besides the huge commitment that it takes to not only pledge, but continue your quest each day, your motivation must be rock solid. What keeps you going through the impossible days and do you have any advice for others on how to push through tough and difficult times?
I understand I have the benefit of going through tremendous personal growth with this challenge; the purpose is to assist organisations doing phenomenal work in this country. They are real life heroes changing peoples’ lives on a daily basis. The people they help, face challenges 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year with no respite. I think about them while I’m climbing and no matter how tough my climb is – it’s nowhere near as bad as what they go through.
My advice: no matter whether its life, climbing, relationships or work – there are good days and there are bad days. Learn to appreciate both equally.
In fact, I look forward to the tough climbs, because it’s where I learn the most. I know nothing lasts forever – except the learning we acquire from challenging times.
Since the beginning of this year when you started with 365 Ubuntu, you are certainly a changed man. What do you think are the main areas of growth you believe you went through?
Definitely self belief – I’m still not 100% there in all areas of my life, but this challenge is giving me the platform to use the knowledge gained and steps acquired to navigate other challenges in my life with the same belief.
I’ve become more principled in my beliefs, but more compassionate in my implementation of them. The value of understanding someone’s efforts through their own eyes and not mine have been invaluable. Having someone with health issues pushing their boundaries to climb with me is more valuable than getting a personal best time up the mountain.
I’ve also come to understand what commitment means and how convenience has corrupted it, the reality is when you commit to something there is no alternative.
Anybody is welcome to join you on your walk and you must have met some incredibly diverse and interesting people. Is there an encounter which stood out for you and gave you inspiration?
The most inspiring encounter was when Lifa Hlongwa and our building’s security guard, Elliot joined me on hike number 144. Lifa was told barely a year earlier that he’d never walk again after a rugby injury. Fast forward learning to sit again, stand and walk with crutches, he managed a summit of Lions head. His next goal was Table Mountain.
Those who have hiked with me know that I share my gratitude at the start for my healthy body; legs that work and are strong enough to do this every day; my eyes to see it all and my mind to act on the idea. Well, this day was made even more poignant when I spoke about my legs. What usually takes 6 minutes, took us 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Working together and watching him put all his might, but never complain, into climbing was inspiration in action. I watched the essence of the human spirit unfold in front of me. Elliot’s patience, having never been to Tafelberg road, never mind the top of Table Mountain, was incredible. Standing behind Lifa and making sure he was supported on both sides. Time was against us to safely get up and down and so we had to turn back.
I was honoured to be in the company of two special human beings that day. Every day when my legs are fatigued he reminds me what a gift that fatigue really is.
You surely cannot experience this year and return to a previous existence. How do you believe it has influenced your future path and what is next on your radar and that of 365 Ubuntu?
When I had the idea on 22 June 2017, I knew my life was never going to be the same again. I’ve learned the value of having goals, but being flexible to the unpredictability of what comes along (the retrenchment).
I will be writing a book, building on my work in numerology with my gained knowledge to consult with individuals as well as businesses locally and internationally.
365 Ubuntu is now part of my DNA. While I won’t be climbing every day, the principle of what it stands for and the essence of what I do from now on, will continue in its message every day.
To find out more about how you can get involved, have a look at http://www.365climbs.com/
Copyright © 2018 by Natalie du Preez.
This interview was conceptualised, conducted and authored by Natalie du Preez and is original content, which is property of the author, all rights reserved. This article or any portion thereof may not be copied, shared or reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the owner.