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The international equality-in-sport charity, equitysport, are proud to have supported the development; and co-signed a letter to the International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation (UIAA) from the South African mountaineering non-profit, Afrika Freedom Climbers.

We, at equitysport, are proud to support the global equality-in-sport movement by bolstering and amplifying local efforts to advance equality, promote diversity and extend equal opportunities to all people in all sports around the world.

The Afrika Freedom Climbers (AFC) are a South African non-profit organisation whose mission it is to break down barriers to the great outdoors and diversify South African mountaineering sports.

Last week, the AFC took the difficult but necessary decision to formally file a grievance against the Mountain Club of South Africa (MCSA) with the International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation (UIAA). This follows a decision in 2016 by the MCSA to submit recommendations to the South African Government that sought to block government 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 have failed to elicit a constructive response from the governing body.

Since the submission of the letter to the UIAA, both the AFC and equitysport we are pleased to have received a swift response from the MCSA, with unequivocal assurances from the MCSA President that the matter will be fully investigated and reviewed for fairness.

equitysport will continue to work closely with the AFC in a support capacity, with whom we are very grateful to for the invitation to collaborate. We will communicate the outcomes of the MSCA investigation and review, as well as the grievance process with the UIAA in due course.

Tim Harper, Executive Director of equitysport commented on the action:

"Like all of us at equitysport, I am grateful for the opportunity to work closely with Katlego [Founder at Afrika Freedom Climbers] and the Afrika Freedom Climbers again.

Whether we call it the 'adventure gap' or the 'nature gap''; whether we attribute it to language, culture, confidence, awareness or safety; mountain sports, the world over, have a serious diversity problem. It's important to recognise and reaffirm that despite prevailing perceptions in some quarters; there are no rich sports, no white sports, and no men's sports; there are sports and there are people.

When organisations like the AFC take it upon themselves to do something about the under-representation of their community in the sport's they love, and find ways to secure funding to realise their goals, governing bodies should be doing everything they can do smooth the path ahead, not throw sand in the gears of change.

To the Afrika Freedom Climbers specifically, we hear you and we are grateful for inviting us to walk this path with you. The mountains are for everyone."

Please consider following Afrika Freedom Climbers on Instagram and lend your support to more diverse, more equitable mountain sports in South Africa.

#SportIsForEveryone #MountainsAreForEveryone


equitysport is a values-led registered charity (1189559) that exists to advance equality, promote diversity and extend equal opportunity in and through global sport. We seek an inclusive and equitable sporting ecosystem that lives true to the values of sport.

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