IMPACT | PROGRESS FOR THE AFRIKA FREEDOM CLIMBERS IN SOUTH AFRICA
Following a meeting between representatives of Mountain Club South Africa (MCSA), the Afrika Freedom Climbers and equitysport, we are delighted to report a significant breakthrough in the mission to diversify mountain sports in South Africa.
In early-April 2022, equitysport announced that as part of its work to support and amplify the work of our local partners, we had supported the development and co-signed an official letter of grievance to the International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation (UIAA) from the South African mountain sport non-profit, the Afrika Freedom Climbers (AFC).
That letter was filed with the UIAA following a decision in 2016 by Mountain Club South Africa (MCSA) to submit recommendations to the South African Government that sought to block financial assistance to the AFC which would help the organisation deliver on their mission to diversify South African mountaineering sport.
Despite repeated attempts to resolve the issue directly with the MCSA by the AFC since 2016, those efforts had failed to elicit a constructive response from the governing body. Since the submission of the letter to the UIAA in April, it should be noted that the response from the recently appointed MCSA President has been swift, empathetic and constructive.
On 27th April 2022, representatives from the MCSA, the Afrika Freedom Climbers and equitysport met to discuss the matter formally, with a view to plot a path towards a resolution. The MCSA leadership outlined the origins of the previous recommendations that were made to the South African Government and outlined how the MCSA were prepared to amend and clarify those recommendations with immediate effect.
We are delighted to report that, following a wide-ranging discussion, the MCSA has announced the following changes to their recommendations to the South African Government:
The objectives of the Afrika Freedom Climbers: to diversify the face of mountaineering, is a laudable objective;
Taking into account the current situation and developments which exist on 8000m peaks, being that it is difficult, if not impossible, to climb these mountains without engaging a commercial operator, who often have a "monopoly" on access and the most popular routes up the mountain;
The MCSA celebrates individuals and teams who themselves organise/mount/launch mountain climbing expeditions which explore, climb mountains and routes in "pure", unassisted, self-reliant manner, and without commercially employed guides on the mountain;
The MSCA does not object to a team of Afrika Freedom Climbers using commercial operators to achieve the ascent of any 8000m peak they wish to climb;
We [the MCSA] would respectfully suggest the relevant [South African] Government entities consider the application/proposal of Afrika Freedom Climbers, and then decide what support to give to the AFC.
Thale Katlego Letheo, Director at the Afrika Freedom Climbers said of the breakthrough:
"Today, South Africa is celebrating Freedom Day to commemorate the first democratic election that happened at the end of apartheid 28 years ago!
This is such a poignant day to have had a positive, encouraging meeting alongside our collaborators at equitysport with the leadership of MCSA.
Our freedom wasn't free. Hopefully with time, the freedom of the hills will no longer be for the privileged few."
Tim Harper, Executive Director at equitysport added:
"This is an encouraging breakthrough for the Afrika Freedom Climbers and their wider mission.
Thale and her team at AFC must be supported in their mission to diversify mountain sports in South Africa. We hope that this change in position and the detailed clarification from the MCSA will allow the AFC to secure the government funding it requires to deliver on its mission.
It should be noted that Paul at the MCSA, who has inherited this matter from the previous leadership at the organisation, has responded with empathy and a clear and genuine desire to listen, understand and make changes where they are needed. We are grateful for his urgency and his support."
Please consider following Afrika Freedom Climbers on Instagram and lend your support to more diverse, more equitable mountain sports in South Africa (and beyond).
KALYN CARPENTER & CHARLOTTE LLOYD JOIN EQUITYSPORT BOARD OF TRUSTEES
The international equality-in-sport charity, equitysport, is delighted to announce the appointment of Kalyn Carpenter and Charlotte Lloyd to the charity’s Board of Trustees.
Kalyn Carpenter was born and raised in a small town in Texas, USA and has spent a large part of her life living and working in rural communities through the Southern US. With a professional background in communications, advocacy and grassroots campaigns, Kalyn has extensive experience working with various political campaigns in the United States and with an MP in the House of Commons, as well as time as a business consultant working with small businesses and social enterprises.
Kalyn studied political science, gender studies and international development, earning a BA in Political Science from Maryville College (US) and an MSc in Gender, Development and Globalisation from the London School of Economics.
Keen hockey player and passionate equality-in-sport advocate and activist, Charlotte Lloyd, currently works with British Blind Sport on their national 'See Sport Differently' campaign, working alongside national governing bodies to increase accessible opportunities in sport. Previously, Charlotte worked in leadership positions within student politics at Warwick University, first as their elected Sports Officer and later sat on the British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS) Inclusion Board to represent the student voice across universities in the UK.
Charlotte and Kalyn join the equitysport Board of Trustees at an exciting time for the charity and for international sport at all levels. COVID-19 has seen the global sporting ecosystem disrupted in ways that were unimaginable just three years ago. As new trends emerge and new thinking embeds across the world, equitysport is ready to play its part in shaping a future centred around equality, diversity and equal opportunity for all people, no matter who they are, where they come from or what their background might be.
Kalyn said of her appointment to the Board of Trustees:
"I'm delighted to be joining equitysport in their mission to advance equality in and through sport. Sport is an area ripe for transformation and presents a wealth of opportunities to advance rights and equality, on and off the pitch. The charity's commitment to this mission through enacting substantive change, encouraging conversation, and expanding people's capabilities is an approach that deeply resonates with me. I'm honoured to be joining such a passionate team and can't wait to get started!"
Charlotte said of her appointment:
"I'm excited to take up this role with equitysport and contribute to promoting equal opportunities in and through sport. The charity's mission and values really resonated with me, and I can't wait to work alongside others who are so passionate about advancing universal access to sport. I'm looking forward to seeing what we can achieve and can't wait to get started."
Tim Harper, equitysport Executive Director added:
"We are embarking on an exciting new chapter at equitysport and I'm really excited to have the opportunity to work closely with Kalyn, Charlotte and the rest of our brilliant trustees as we strive to deliver on our vision for a fairer, more equitable sporting world.
I believe these appointments are testament to the ambition and long term vision of equitysport as a change-making organisation; Charlotte and Kayln's experience, enthusiasm and expertise will be critical as we play our part in shaping a future for global sport that reflects the very best of humankind.
I'm hugely grateful to Charlene (equitysport Chair) and the rest of the board for all their hard work during what was an extremely thorough recruitment process."
CHARLENE HOGG APPOINTED EQUITYSPORT CHAIR
South-African born Charlene Hogg currently works as legal counsel for TwentyFour Asset Management in London and is a qualiﬁed solicitor in England, Wales and South Africa. Before moving to the UK, Charlene was part of in-house legal teams at both Standard Bank and First National Bank in Johannesburg, working on legal matters involving multiple African jurisdictions.
Charlene has served on the equitysport Board of Trustees since the inception of the charity; helping the charity establish and grow during what has been a challenging time for the sector at large.
Charlene said of her appointment:
"I’m honoured to have been appointed Chair of our Board of Trustees. As we start an exciting new chapter for our charity I look forward to continue to support the growth of equitysport with my fellow trustees.
I’m excited to have the opportunity to work even closer with Tim and help build on the progress already made to advance equality and promote diversity through sport. I can’t wait to see what we can achieve in the next year."
Tim Harper, Executive Director at equitysport added:
“Charlene’s skills, know-how, leadership and calm resilience as a trustee have already been instrumental in navigating the challenges of the pandemic over the past two years.
We know that as we emerge from a protracted period of disruption for the sector at large, we have to continue to ensure our ambition and growing momentum is supported by the best possible structures, processes and governance. With Charlene as Chair, I believe we have an individual who both understands and embodies our values, but also appreciates the practicalities of how we deliver on them as a small charity.
The charity is embarking on an exciting new chapter and I’m really looking forward to working closely with Charlene as we strive to deliver a fairer, more equitable sporting world.”