“I always train my mind as I always say; you climb the mountain many times in your head already. So, in actual fact, it’s not the mountain you conquer, but yourself.” – Monde Sitole

I heard about Monde Sitole some two years ago. Everyone who has told me anything about him finds him to be an inspiration and a visionary. I agree, hence I decided to have an in-depth look at the life of this young black man who is doing things that are dubbed as “white” Monde is a Strategist, Alpinist, and Sailor from Cape Town, South Africa. He is, by the way, also a poet with a very fine use of words.

Who are you and what do you do?

Many a times, I have exhausted my wits and muscle trying to craft a suitable and elegant answer to this enlightening question but it has settled and dawned on me that …mine is simple, you know? A quote that attempts to encapsulate or paint the person i have become.


Again, who are you, Monde . . .

“All my life, one of my greatest desires has been to travel-to see and touch unknown countries, to swim in unknown seas, to circle the globe, observing new lands, seas, people, and ideas with insatiable appetite, to see everything for the first time and for the last time, casting a slow, prolonged glance, then to close my eyes and feel the riches deposit themselves inside me calmly or stormily according to their pleasure, until time passes them at last through its fine sieve, straining the quintessence out of all the joys and sorrows.”

That sounds so poetic and cheesy. Who are you?

Okay, okay, I am a serial adventurer in the broader perspective of the word.

I love intensely.

I dive into whatever test, space & knowledge passionately and wholeheartedly.

Hhmm . . .


So, what have some of your achievements been in adventure?

I was part of the first youngsters to attend school on board a tall ship namely SV Concordia vessel ,where we sailed from cape town to Bermuda to attend international sailing race ,we sailed via St Helena, Ascension, Fernando, Brazil, Trinidad and Tobago. After that I completed my competent crew with Good Hope sailing academy and I am now working towards Yacht master.

This was quite an experience because everything I had deemed impossible, and farfetched was now tangible, and attainable, after that i was chosen to take part on the Mike Horn young explorers camp in Switzerland where i met veteran explorer and life coach Mike Horn who was rather the stimulus to the dare to dream expedition that is to scale all highest peaks on each continent alpine style, including Everest  that is also underlining the ethos that bind and adds weight to the life I intend on living.

So, I succeeded with highest in Africa Kiliminajro, Elbrus highest in Europe, and just came back from Denali highest peak in North America, I will continue next year with Cartensz pyramid in Indonesia.


What is the purpose of all of this and what is the constant motivation?

Motivation… Hhmm, what an uncertain but beautiful word madam!

The motivation I have now, since you ask, is not just in what I have managed to achieve but it’s also the beauty of the unknown.

“To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson

You have clearly made a name for yourself in mountain climbing. But, you also have this eagerness to change the mentality of the young black child; hence you give talks and take kids to the mountains right? What’s your ultimate vision for this?

Ah, yes! My vision is not to just bombard youths with what I think is right for them but it’s to reinvigorate that latent intrinsic potential in all to dare to dream and envision beyond any seeming obstacle and grab hold of their dreams no matter how small, big or absurd they might seemingly appear and to couple that with relevant, sound strategies to help spur their sights to the right direction.

It’s not too much about me, it’s a dialogue where we couple solutions, compare findings for swords to sharpen swords and arise with innovative strategies.

You’re such a futurist, I must say. Tell me, how did your family react when you told them you were going to climb mountains?


They think what am I doing climbing hills?

It’s granted really because mountain climbing is  of course a bit still fairly unheard of as a sport, or career but that for me brings another exciting glaring opportunity for me to conscientize them about these beautiful cathedrals as portals for self-discovery .


Cathedrals of self-discovery! I like that. Describe the feeling you get after you have reached the top of a mountain . . . 

For me it’s a can of emotions, you see you have now new eyes, new possibilities, as I always say goals give birth to even more beautiful & crazy journeying .

– Rene Daumal puts it beautifully when he says;

You cannot stay on the summit forever; you have to come down again. So why bother in the first place? Just this: What is above knows what is below, but what is below does not know what is above. One climbs, one sees. One descends, one sees no longer, but one has seen. There is an art of conducting oneself in the lower regions by the memory of what one saw higher up. When one can no longer see, one can at least still know.

You will know you have succeeded when . . .

“To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson

I will, deep down in my heart, know I have succeeded when I afford myself the space and resources to make a measurable impact in the struggle of humankind.

[NB: He keeps adding the Emerson quote himself]


Talk to me about the training process to prepare to climb a mountain. How long and intense is it?

I always say for me training is climbing, continuous climbing.

You have to go out there and climb, experience, gather cellular memory, I also try to shy away from selfish eating lifestyle, so no excessive sugar (if any), less salt, cut down on saturated fat.

I always train my mind as I always say; you climb the mountain many times in your head already. So, in actual fact, it’s not the mountain you conquer, but yourself.


What project is under the radar for you soon? What’s the goal for it? How are you going to achieve it?

Wonderful! It’s Mondetalks Educational Strategies that is now the focal of my attention.

It was inspired by the talks I was doing at schools and the work initiates like Equal Education are doing, we have focused our attention on the important things like motivation, location, conducive environments, sanitation, participation, including family and community because we believe a child is raised by a village, hence we need to engage the community and homes in education.

I’ve spoken for retail companies, conglomerates, and schools, rotary in Alaska. I am off to Botswana as keynote speaker for their entrepreneurial camp, and then I’m off to New York for the 2015 Nexus Global Youth Summit on Innovative Philanthropy and Social Entrepreneurship. After that, I’ll be off to Bangkok Thailand for the One World Young Leader Summit.


And, lastly, how did you overcome some of the greatest challenges you face thus far to get to where you are?

My stubborn naivety, the company I keep (because no man is an Island), perspective, and what I’ve achieved.

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