US news agency corrects story that said Mount Kilimanjaro is in Kenya

20Jul 2016
The Guardian Reporter
The Guardian
US news agency corrects story that said Mount Kilimanjaro is in Kenya

THE Associated Press, one of the world's oldest and largest international newsgathering organizations, was yesterday obliged to make a correction after it erroneously reported that Mount Kilimanjaro is in Kenya, causing an uproar in Tanzania.

"In a story July 18 about a South African climber dying while trying to summit Mount Kilimanjaro, the Associated Press reported erroneously that the mountain is in Kenya. It is in Tanzania," the AP said in its correction.

Tanzania and Kenya have long been competing with each other to attract tourists with the former - famed for its pristine beaches and safari parks beneath the snow-capped Kilimanjaro - has traditionally played second-fiddle to the latter which has better air links to key markets in Europe and United States.

But a surge in visitors to Tanzania in the past two years has chipped away at Kenya's dominance and helped Tanzania's ambitions to become a regional tourist hub.

The two countries have squabbled endlessly over Kenya's use of Mount Kilimanjaro in its tourism brochures, and the American news agency appeared to revive this sometimes bitter bone of contention between the two neighbouring countries when it reported that Africa's highest peak was in Kenya.

The state-run Tanzania Tourist Board (TTB) yesterday issued a statement criticising the "misleading" article by the Associated Press, which was run by several global media outlets.

"(The) Tanzania Tourist Board wishes to refute a claim ... that Mr Guguleth Zulu, a renowned South African rally driver, died while trying to summit 'Kenya's Mount Kilimanjaro’," TTB said in its statement.

The tourism agency said it had contacted the media houses that published the article and demanded that "they issue a correct statement via the same media channel they used to issue the misleading information about the location of Mt. Kilimanjaro, so as to put it clear to the international community that Mt. Kilimanjaro is in Tanzania."

Meanwhile, arrangements are being made to take the body of the renowned South African racing driver, Gugu Zulu, back to South Africa after he died on Mount Kilimanjaro, the Nelson Mandela Foundation said yesterday.

The other members of the climbing team were due to return to South Africa today, foundation spokesperson Neeran Naidoo said in a statement.

It was not clear if Zulu’s wife Letshego, who was part of the team, would be on the same flight.

The foundation’s chief executive officer Sello Hatang was with Letshego Zulu in Tanzania. He said he was devastated.

"I knew him well. I recruited him to climb Kilimanjaro. The last thing he said to me at the airport before he left last week was that he wanted to speak about doing other Mandela Day projects. I feel a huge sense of loss," he said.

Breathing problems

Hatang was working with Tanzanian authorities; the South African high commissioner to Tanzania, Thami Mseleku; home affairs in South Africa; and the Tanzanian ambassador to South Africa, Radhia Msuya, to help repatriate Gugu’s body.

They were waiting for documentation from local authorities and South African home affairs before travel arrangements could be made.

“We are hoping to resolve these issues today before flight details can be confirmed,” Naidoo said.

Zulu died on Monday while climbing the mountain with Letshego and project leader Richard Mabaso. Experienced mountaineer Sibusiso Vilane was leading the team. They had intended to reach the summit on Monday, for Mandela Day.

The foundation said they did not know the cause of Zulu’s death, only that he had suffered breathing problems.

"The medical team supporting the trek put him on a drip and they descended the mountain with him. We are informed that the medical teams tried everything possible to save his life."

Zulu’s last post on his Facebook page was on Saturday, saying: "Made it though (stet) day2.

“My wife is doing fabulous, she has even learnt the local language. Am having flu like symptoms and struggling with the mountain but taking it step by step!!

“Today we managed to see our destination and our camp is literary above the clouds!!”

Zulu was an established and celebrated driver for Volkswagen, and won the South African National Rally Class Championships in 2007, 2009, and 2010.

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