Tragedy strikes Khumalo’s Everest team

And other essential news of the day

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Photo of Khumbu glacier
Memorial stones at the foot of the Khumbu glacier which is between Mount Everest and the Lhotse-Nuptse ridge. Photo courtesy of Stephen Jaffe

During May, we’re publishing and promoting, a digest of essential daily news produced by veteran journalists Chris Whitfield, Jonathan Ancer and Martine Barker. Enjoy!


Tragedy strikes Khumalo’s Everest team

An Irish professor climbing in the eight-member party with South African Saray Khumalo has gone missing after falling on their descent today. Seamus Lawless, 39, reached the summit with Khumalo – the first black African woman to achieve the feat – yesterday. Lawless went missing after he reportedly fell at an altitude of 8,300m while descending to Camp Four from the summit. A search party is attempting to find him. Khumalo reached Camp Four safely.

Folau sacked for gay slurs

Wallabies rugby star Israel Folau has been sacked by Rugby Australia (RA) for making homophobic slurs. The devout Christian had posted on social media that ‘hell awaits’ gay people and other sinners. This followed a similar outburst last year, when he was given a warning by the country’s ruling rugby body. This morning Folau was found guilty by a three-person tribunal of a ‘high level’ breach of RA’s code of conduct. It decided that the gravity of the breach warranted the termination of his four-year contract with RA that is reportedly worth 4m Australian dollars (nearly R40m). The case has been highly controversial in Australia with other Christians saying their religious rights are being restricted.

Marawa axed

Popular veteran sports presenter Robert Marawa has apparently been fired by Supersport. He was scheduled to present his Thursday Night Live with Marawa show at 8.30pm last night but about two hours earlier he tweeted that he had been axed via an SMS from Supersport. Earlier in the day Marawa had posted this: ‘Imagine paying for a service where people who are guilty of sexual harassment are employed and encouraged to work’ – an apparent reference to goings on at Supersport. After his announcement that he was fired Marawa responded to messages from disappointed fans by saying: ‘One day u will ALL know. It will cost me my life but you will know … The Mafia! Incorporated with lackeys. An amazing story.’ His regular Thursday Night Live co-host Thato Moeng presented the programme last night and described it as the ‘last show’.

Makhanda: we didn’t say NGO would be paid

The astonishing rip-off in Makhanda (formerly Grahamstown), in which local companies were paid R10m for work done by Gift of the Givers to alleviate the town’s water crisis, has sparked outrage across the country. But will it have consequences? The Makhanda Municipality, which Gift of the Givers says approved its original R23m budget, now says it had no financial agreement with the NGO. And the Eastern Cape Department of Water and Sanitation – which was supposed to cover Gift of the Givers’ costs but instead paid local businesses who had done nothing – says the whole thing has been misrepresented. Meanwhile, Gift of the Givers has withdrawn from the area where it had drilled 15 boreholes and delivered water by trucks to local residents. It says it was asked to help alleviate the crisis by the municipality.

It’s men who speak too much

A city councillor in Montreal, Canada, knits during council meetings, saying it helps her focus. Recently Sue Montgomery decided to knit a shawl in green and red – green when any of the 31 women councillors were speaking and red when one of the 34 men were addressing the chamber. The result: a shawl with great swathes of red and the occasional line of green. Men, it seems, speak too much. ‘Some of the older men tend to go on and on,’ explained Montgomery, who posted photos of her work on Instagram. ‘Some of them can’t be bothered to gather and organise their thoughts before speaking.’ And the women? ‘They do speak, they’re just more efficient – they use up their allotted time to make a point.’


Flight check

Boeing says it has fixed a glitch in its 737 MAX’s software that is thought to have caused two deadly crashes, The entire fleet of MAXs around the world was grounded after the incidents. The revised flight handling system now needs to gain approval from US and international regulators before the planes can return to service. And then they somehow have to convince people to get back on them …


Double double trouble for Tiger

Tiger Woods fans came to Bethpage Black to watch their hero take control of the US PGA and they saw a great display of championship golf – but it was from his playing partner and defending champion Brooks Koepka. The three-time major winner and 2018 champion was almost faultless as he fired seven birdies in a round of seven-under-par 63. Koepka holds a lead of one shot over surprise package Danny Lee from New Zealand. Woods had a disastrous double bogey opening hole and then a second double drop on his eighth hole. In an erratic round that also included an eagle, the 15-time major winner finished on two over and nine shots behind his playing partner.

Bulls back on top

The Bulls moved to the top of the tight South Afiican Super Rugby conference with an emphatic 32-17 win over the Rebels in Melbourne this morning. Handre Pollard kicked 12 points and scored a try as well as effectively running the game from flyhalf. It was a perfect start to the Bulls’ tour and takes them up to second on the overall log. Earlier, the Jaguares briefly moved into top spot on the South African log with a 28-20 shock win over the Hurricanes. The Lions, without the influential Warren Whiteley, face the Highlanders at Ellis Park tomorrow just before the Stormers welcome back a slew of players against the Crusaders at Newlands.

City target the treble

Manchester City will target a domestic cleansweep when they take on Watford in the FA Cup final tomorrow. After 14 straight wins took City to the league title last weekend, they are overwhelming favourites to lift the famous trophy at Wembley. Watford are 13-1 underdogs and come into the final on the back of three straight defeats and a disappointing slide down the league table at the end of the season. If City can claim their third domestic title of the season they will be the first team to ever win the League Cup, Premier League and FA Cup in one season.

Kyrgios has a tantrum – and leaves

Controversial Australian Nick Kyrgios had a temper tantrum and then walked off the court and forfeited his second-round match against Norwegian Casper Ruud at the Italian Open tennis tournament yesterday. The volatile Aussie was serving at 1-1 in the third set when the referee awarded Ruud a game for unsportsmanlike conduct after Kyrgios swore at spectators who moved when he served. The Australian threw his racquet, kicked a water bottle and then threw a chair into the centre of the court before packing his bags and storming off court. Ruud was awarded a 6-3 6-7 (5/7) 2-1 win.


‘Grumpy Cat’ is dead.

The famous feline with a permanent frown became an internet celebrity over the years and was photographed with several big-name stars, including Jennifer Lopez. Her owners issued a statement early today saying ‘we are unimaginably heartbroken to announce the loss of our beloved Grumpy Cat’. They explained: ‘Despite care from top professionals, as well as from her very loving family, Grumpy encountered complications from a recent urinary tract infection that unfortunately became too tough for her to overcome. Grumpy Cat has helped millions of people smile all around the world – even when times were tough.’ Grumpy Cat, who reached the age of 7, has 8.5 million fans on Facebook, 2.5 million followers on Instagram and 1.5 million on Twitter, according to TimesLive.


Don’t mention the word

BBC viewers in the UK found themselves witnessing a meltdown of epic proportions when veteran royal watcher Nicholas Witchell completely lost his train of thought on camera, just after the announcement of the birth of Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor last Thursday evening. Comedian Martin Mor (@MartinMorComedy) put this wonderful text overlay on the excruciating clip.


Wee argument

American writer Tony Posnanski was, well, pissed off with a Vita Coco promotion in which he was offered samples of the coconut water. ‘I would rather drink your social media person’s piss than coconut water,’ responded a cantankerous Posnanski on Twitter. Vita Coco quickly responded by posting a picture of a young woman in a bathroom holding up a jug of yellow liquid – presumably urine – and simply asking: ‘Address?’. Posnanski took it all in good spirits – he said he had been ‘owned’ by Vita Coco – and gave the company the address for the White House.


Friday’s prestigious tweet of the day goes to Sir Michael (@Michael 1979):

GREAT day volunteering at the library! Noticed a local youth reading a book called Moby D*ck so I confiscated it before I could corrupt his innocent mind. Then I found a fun book about laughing out loud called LOLita and gave him that instead. I LOVE keeping young minds pure!


Today’s clue is: One hundred arms and legs going uphill (6)

The solution to yesterday’s clue, Epic battered sausage? Useless! (4), is SAGA – an anagram of Sausage (battered is the anagram indicator) without the letters ‘USE’ (‘use-less’) – so an anagram of SAAG, gives the definition for ‘epic’.


Old news

As humans head for longer life, how do they ensure that they’ll continue to feel young enough to manage the world. The New Yorker (note: just four reads a month for non-subscribers) has taken a fascinating look at the ageing industry and the challenges of creating products for people who don’t want to be reminded that they are ageing. Ever.


Who told the biggest porkies?
Well, that’s hard to say, actually, but there were a lot of them around. Alleged fibs from Independent Media boss Iqbal Survé seem to be stacking up at the PIC inquiry, while Trevor Manuel has gone to court to prove that the EFF has been at it with its claims about his relationship with Edward Kieswetter. And then there were all those politicians trying to fool the electorate, or perhaps themselves, with claims they would get enough votes to get into parliament/would build a million homes/would be the government.

Who said sorry?
Singapore Sports had to issue an apology this week after the wrong reporter was named Sports Journalist of the Year at a swanky ceremony at the Orchard Hotel on Tuesday. Her picture and name were widely published in the press and on social media. An ‘administrative error’ had matched the wrong writer to the winning articles, said the embarrassed organisers, who issued an apology to both journalists.

Who said not sorry?
Anna Sorokin, the high-flying fake New York heiress who scammed the city’s elite posing as someone called Anna Delvey, was jailed this week for four years for the deception and for taking $200,000 that did not belong to her. In her first prison interview, the 28-year-old laughed and told the reporter she’d do it all again. So not sorry then.

Which Menaces made us mad?
The Eastern Cape Department of Waste and Sanitation (DWS) in Makhanda, which has driven away the desperately needed assistance that the Gift of the Givers was providing to the drought-stricken Eastern Cape Town. It emerged this week that the department has declined to reimburse the charity for the work it has done sinking boreholes and putting in infrastructure, paying R10m to local companies instead – for work the Gift of the Givers has already done. Their cynical roguery makes the Eastern Cape DWS he Menaces of the week by some distance.

What made us shake our heads?
Reports that the ANC list of people headed to parliament that was submitted to the IEC this week included all the people that the party’s own integrity committee proposed leaving out.

What made us shake our heads again?
That a fifteenth local authority in the North West has been placed under administration – the JB Marks municipality, formerly Potchefstroom – meaning that just six municipalities in the province are running their own affairs. The North West is also the only province for which the ANC has not yet named a premier candidate.

Who made us proudly African?
Mountaineer Saray Khumalo is a South African by naturalisation, having been born in Zambia of Rwandan parents, but her landmark summit of Mount Everest as the first black African woman to do so, had us cheering for the South African in her and the African in all of us.


Whilst climbing Mt Everest is no mean feat & is to be congratulated, the real heroes of Everest are the Sherpas who yearly put their lives on the line putting up the ladders over the Kumbu Icefall & ropes higher up & to the top.

Then we get the real unsung heroes, the high altitude Sherpas who get paid handsomely to drag the rich climbers to the top & down again. Many of these Sherpas have summited Everest many times & frequently more than once in a climbing season. They are the real unsung heroes !!!!!!

Then we have another real hero Sibusiso Vilane, the first black SA man who has summited Everest two times, done all 7 summits & went straight from Kili to Everest. How’s that !!!!! He’s a real boykie as far as I’m concerned !!!!!!!


  • Editor’s note: Sibusiso Vilane is currently attempting his third summit of Mount Everest. You can follow his Twitter feed here:


The obvious solution is for Pieter Louis Myburgh to publish his book as an e-book.
Harry Friedland

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