Ethiopion pop singer Kenna has enlisted Chicago lyricist Lupe Fiasco to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania in an effort to bring awareness to the worldwide water crisis. This issue hits home for Kenna, whose father nearly died as a child due to a lack of clean drinking water.
“My dad almost died as a child from waterborne diseases in Ethiopia, and he had talked to me about digging a well there,” Kenna explained to Elle Magazine. “I thought, ‘I have too many friends who would be concerned with the subject of clean water.’ Maybe I can help out.”
Mount Kilimanjaro boasts the highest peak on the African continent at 19,330 feet. Most routes to the top of the mountain take a maximum of 6 to 7 days. Although the voyage is a popular retreat amongst climbers, the journey is not without its dangers. An estimated 10 people die every year attempting to climb Kilimanjaro. The majority of the fatalities are due to altitude sickness, which can cause swelling of the brain tissue (high altitude cerebral edema). Despite the risks for a novice climber, Fiasco plans to make the event a light-hearted competition with his friend Kenna.
“I’m an adventure junkie,” Fiasco stated. “Part of the motivation is beating Kenna to the top. Sabotaging his tent, taking the lining out of his coat, [and] lacing it with ants or something like that.”
Along Kenna and Lupe, singer/songwriter Justin Timberlake is also expected to take part in the climb for charity, which is scheduled to take place this Fall. Be on the look-out for Lupe Fiasco’s anticipated third studio album, Lasers, due in stores June 2009.