The 34-year-old nature-loving and hiking fanatic, Andisa Liba, who hails from Port Elizabeth, recently formed part of the Trek4Mandela team that summited Mount Kilimanjaro in an effort to raise awareness and funds for the keep the #girlchild in school initiative. She nominated two local schools in New Brighton as recipients for donations and support raised by her through participating in the campaign.
Proud of the inspiring role she plays in the Bay community, we checked in with her about the trek, the Caring for Girls initiative and some of her favourite spots in Nelson Mandela Bay.
Tell us a bit more about yourself. Who is Andisa Liba?
I’m a 34 year nature lover and avid hiking fanatic who hails from Port Elizabeth. By profession I’m a cultural engineer otherwise known as a Human Resources Practitioner working in the entertainment industry and I’m also a young mother of two incredible boys.
You are born and bred in Nelson Mandela Bay, what’s your favourite childhood memory of the Bay?
Hands down the beach… many memories of taking long walks all the way down to “Something Good” from Humewood. I also loved our trips to Jeffreys bay and have a great appreciation for the Jeffreys and St Francis Bay area.
As South Africa (and the rest of the world) celebrated 100 years of Nelson Mandela, you formed part of a team of 67 climbers that trekked to the top of Africa’s highest mountain with the mission to unite Africa through Madiba’s legacy. We are proud that you were part of the team, but what did this mean to you?
It was an honour and a privilege to be celebrating a centenary of a great giant and no better way to commemorate this than to summit the highest peak in Africa in aid of bringing awareness to a charity near and dear to my heart, but a remembrance and homage of the Spirit of Ubuntu and amplifying that message.
You were at an altitude of 5 756 metres when you summited Stella Point and the climb was not exactly a walk in the park; tell us what did you do to get yourself ready for the expedition?
Lots of hiking and climbing formed part of my preparation for the journey. I’ve also gone back to yoga to gain range in my shoulders and to built up my core muscles. In addition to this I added a High Altitude Mask to my training routine which helped to give lung capacity and it helped with breathing. The mask minimised my oxygen intake and encouraged my lungs to breathe better with less oxygen.
Tell us more about the Caring for Girls initiative and why you are involved in this cause?
I’m a firm believer that part of being a good citizen is to lend a hand and partner with community outreach programmes that one can relate with and that for me is my partnership with the Imbumba Foundation.
As a young woman who lives in this dynamic country of ours I believe in the power of female empowerment and I believe in getting this right early on. I’m also an avid believer in the value of education and for young girls and boys in our country to be afforded opportunities whilst still young and for us to remove any hindrances to their potential future success.
I was very lucky earlier on in my career to have had a strong young female mentor who by all accounts opened a few doors for me in my journey as a professional. One of the things she instilled in me is that “It’s important to send the elevator down for the others behind you”. This has always stuck with me and this has been the catalyst for my involvement with Caring for Girls.
The Caring for Girls initiative is an incredibly important programme that not only provides sanitary wear for the young women in South Africa who unfortunately cannot afford them, but more importantly is a beacon of hope for a brighter future for these young women.
If my involvement can aid in keeping just one young girl in school then I’ve done my bit. I truly believe that if we can do small things with big love we can make a huge difference. This program is a beacon of hope for a brighter future for these young women.
How can we, the public, get involved and support this cause?
The total cost to support one girl is R30 per month or R360 per year. The cost per year covers 12 packs of sanitary towels, Caring4Girls booklet, as well as packaging, transport and distribution to the schools and girls. You can donate online or drop off a donation of sanitary towels. Nelson Mandelba Bay Tourism has availed various donation boxes at visitor information offices around Nelson Mandela Bay as drop off points for sanitary towels. Drop off points are at: The Airport, Donkin Reserve, The Boardwalk, Uitenhage and the NMBT Head Office. For more information about the visitor information centres, visit www.nmbt.co.za.
Commenting on the importance of Mandela’s Centenary and the initiative, NMBT CEO: Mandlakazi Skefile said: “Madiba was a great supporter and admirer of the potential of our youth. As a city named after the great icon, we believe it is our duty to carry his legacy through action. We are proud to stand behind Andisa and the Trek4Mandela team as they embark on this exciting journey in support of keeping our girls in school.”
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It seems like you’re up for any adventure. Do you have any favourite adventure activities to do and places to go hiking in Nelson Mandela Bay?
Hiking is a passion of mine, I find being in nature calms me and it’s my time to switch off from the world and reset my buttons. My top favourite hiking spots in the Bay has to be the Sacramento Hiking Trail closely followed by The Roseate Tern Hiking Trail then of course the Aloe Trail; all these trails have such scenic and spectacular views.
What about local restaurants? One must work up quite the appetite preparing for Kili. Where do you like to go for coffee, breakfast, lunch or dinner?
Haha this is true and I love to eat so it kind of works. I love the Verandah Restaurant in Summerstrand for lunches or even brunch. When it comes to coffee shops I tend to gravitate towards the treasure finds on Stanley Street but in particular I’m a fan of Muse, they have amazing food which is so delicate and beautifully presented. Company Social Brasserie I love for a meet up for cocktails and happy hour with my girls; they have a great selection of wines in their wine cellar too. Bocadillo’s First Ave Walmer is also another great spot.
You are an inspiration, but tell us, who are some of your female role models?
I’m in awe of Wendy Luhabe and she is the epitome of the kind of woman I dream to be someday; she’s an incredible social entrepreneur and a sheer visionary, she really inspires me to be and do better. Phuthi Mahanyele is a dynamite game changer who’s a disruptor and really passionate about breaking boundaries for women and making a change. And lastly Michelle Obama, what’s not to love about her?
If you can leave young girls with one thought, what would it be?
Whatever dream you accomplish becomes the standard to everything else.