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‘Mbuzi Dume’ is Swahili and means ‘strong goat’. It’s the nickname given to Tom Belz on his Kilimanjaro climb by his African mountain guide. The difference is that this ‘strong goat’ has climbed the mountain not on four but on three legs; more precisely—on one leg and two crutches. Tom’s left leg was amputated when he was just eight years old, and since then, he has perfected his technique on crutches. Nevertheless, until recently, he wouldn’t have dreamed of travelling to Kilimanjaro and experiencing a sunrise at an altitude of 5895 metres, and he certainly would not have imagined that he’d be sharing this adventure with Dr. Klaus Siegler, the man who saved his life 23 years ago. For both men, climbing Kilimanjaro symbolises the challenges in life that everyone must surmount.

One leg, two crutches. Tom Belz has been making his way in the world like this for 23 years. He contracted bone cancer as a child, and amputating his left leg was the only way to save his life. It’s obvious that Tom is missing one leg; it’s also easy to see that he does not let that hinder him in any way, as proven by his Kilimanjaro ascent in the summer of 2018 and his Swahili nickname— ‘Mbzui Dume’, which means ‘strong goat’.

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