Activist Angela Yeung tackles world’s eighth-highest peak to raise GBV awareness
Last year she climbed Island Peak, also in Nepal, with a 6 200m long-haul to the top.
. Angela Yeung on the peak of Mount Manaslu in the Himalayas. Picture: Supplied
Symbolism and extreme physical exertion were the building blocks of Johannesburg entrepreneur and social activist Angela Yeung’s latest adventure.
Last month, she summited the world’s eighth-highest peak, Mount Manaslu in the Himalayas, to raise awareness of gender-based violence (GBV) in South Africa. Last year she climbed Island Peak, also in Nepal, with a 6 200m long-haul to the top.
It was in celebration of the 6 200 bras her nonprofit, Impilo Collection Foundation, collected and displayed at Constitution Hill. And a mammoth effort to raise awareness of GBV.
“We handed a memorandum to the department of public safety, with the support of our social warriors, people from all walks of life who work hard to keep awareness about the issue alive. They closed their businesses or took off work to come and serve the cause.”
Yeung, 34, and her social warriors later washed and distributed the bras on Women’s Day last year to 3 100 women in Gauteng. The bra collection came about while Yeung was distributing sanitary pads at a shelter.
“The women were asking for bras and we realised some girls at the centre were not wearing a bra,” she said.
Staff at the centre said perpetrators of gender-based or sexual violence assume it’s an invitation for sexual attention when a woman does not don a bra.
“That’s how GBV started in some rural and informal settlements.”
This was the moment that inspired her to collect the undergarments.
Four years before her Himalayan adventure, in 2018, Yeung climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania in support of another charity, Caring4Girls, which is dedicated to assisting girls unable to afford sanitary products, compelling them to miss school.
Social justice, healing South Africa and taking care of those who are unable to do so themselves runs in Yeung’s veins. During the pandemic, the foundation collected food for an orphanage, an old age home and a GBV shelter.
Yeung’s relentless energy for social justice had its genesis in 2017, a pivotal chapter marked by her personal triumph in locating her biological mother after a painstaking 30-year search.
Recollecting the moment, she said: “For the first time in my life, I felt completely fulfilled as a person. My cup was full, and I realised I was finally in the right space to give back.
“The mountains called me” and thus, after climbing Africa’s tallest peak, she settled on making social statements of grit at the top of the world. It was a 21-day challenge and Yeung self-funded the entire endeavour via her jewellery company.
“I invested 630 hours in rigorous training in preparation for this climb. We are taking gender-based violence seriously, and the climb represented overcoming hardship, beating arduous circumstances through perseverance.”