They say behind every great man is a great woman. On Monday (7 October), well-known climbers Mike Nixon and Andre Bredenkamp, along with Carla Geyser and Ross and Kingsley Holgate will climb Mount Kenya in loving memory of a very special and incredible lady, Gill “Mashozi” Holgate – wife of Kingsley who passed away nearly a year ago.
Mashozi – Zulu for “she who wears shorts” – was a remarkable woman. Not only was she Kingsley’s life partner of 40 years, she also played a key role in the expedition team. Responsible for organising paperwork, money and supplies, she was, in Kingsley’s words, the bursar, the cook and the Mama of expeditions.
Kingsley and his expedition team will depart to Kenya in the ‘Footsteps of Joseph Thomson’ (Scottish explorer) and will be scattering Gill’s ashes to the wind at one of her favourite locations – on the Olololoo escarpment overlooking the vast plains of East Africa’s Maasai Mara. Funds will also be raised for one of Gill’s charities – Mashozi’s Rite to Sight.
Whilst on the epic Land Rover expedition to follow the Tropic of Capricorn around the world, Gill met with an elderly poor-sighted man in the remote Amazon region of South America’s Brazil. He lived in a national park and was about to be removed from the area because officials believed his poor sight might cause him to fall in the river and drown.
Gill handed him her own pair of reading glasses. He put them on and there were tears of joy when he could see his granddaughter clearly for the very first time. This was the start of Mashozi’s Rite to sight campaign, the distribution of ready reader spectacles to the poor sighted.
With a pair of new spectacles, poor-sighted rural Africans can once again do craft work, read their Holy book or place a worm on a hook for fishing. The Kingsley Holgate Foundation distributes ready reader spectacles in 13 different strength sizes. Through this campaign, tens of thousands of poor sighted people now have clearer vision.
The simple testing is done using eye charts and trying on different strengths of ready readers. The Kingsley Holgate Foundation distributes each pair of spectacles on a hand to hand basis followed with usage and care instructions. The Foundation have already distributed over 50 000 spectacles in rural Africa.
If you’re able to donate R50 or more, please CLICK HERE to support the project. Every cent counts and for less than R50 you can change a person’s life.