What we do

Amava Oluntu is a collective of individuals and groups working together to create spaces that encourage reconnection of individuals to themselves, each other and the natural world.

Amava is a Xhosa word for experience, as in the life wisdom and knowledge that one accumulates from birth through every learning encounter along the way. From parents, from grandparents, from ancestors. From communities, from schools, from places of worship. South Africa has a huge diversity of everyday realities. We seek to create spaces of learning that honour these differences and recognize the multiple forms of wisdom we all have to share with each other. We create spaces where, by sharing individual experiences, we equip each other with the skills and knowledge to develop practical solutions that create more resilient and inspired individuals and communities.

How we do it

We build partnerships and networks of knowledge holders, experts, mentors and teachers. Together with these networks, we create context specific learning experiences that offer practical skills and knowledge to equip participants with the ability to create solutions to the growing challenges faced by individuals, communities and the natural environment. We mentor and support champions who emerge from these learning experiences in their endeavours to create change, and link them to networks that can further their learning in displayed fields of interest.These champions act as agents of change within their communities.

We work with a combination of funded projects, and projects that are paid for by participants. On paying projects, our model is that one paying participant covers the cost of one non-paying participant. This addresses privilege, ensures diversity in participant bases and enriches the experience for everyone.

Fields we work in

Culture & Community | Health & Nutrition | Food & Agriculture | Education | Leadership | Entrepreneurship | Media Awareness | Conscious Consumerism | Low Impact Living | Nature Connection


Yoliswa Mahobe

Yoliswa believes that people flourish when connected to each other and to our purpose. Through the principles of Permaculture she found a platform where her love for people, development, education, nutrition and environment were all housed under one roof. Yoli has a gift with people and a passion that is contagious.

She is currently an educational facilitator at the Sustainability Institute in Stellenbosch. Her work includes the design of experiential learning curricula for children, facilitation of permaculture and ecology workshops for adults, and training of the agro-ecology academy students.

Calvin Dias

Calvin’s love for nature and passion for people set him on a journey of co-creating spaces that grow people, planet and prosperity. For the past 10 years Calvin has practiced professionally as a Permaculture facilitator, youth trainer and ecological designer where he has operated within urban and rural contexts, with a diversity of people and cultures.

He is currently the owner of two packaging-free natural goods stores in Cape Town that provide access to local, naturally produced foods, lifestyle products and services. He remains passionate about mentoring youth in entrepreneurial skills and self-awareness.

Mzukise Zele

Mzukisi is dedicated to working with people to create more resilient systems that aren’t at the expense of the natural world. He has ten years experience working within environmental education, and permaculture training and implementation. He strives to create networks of people and organisations collaborating on a shared vision towards creating happier, healthier lives for all.

He is currently located at Bergendal Farm which offers experiential learning processes centered around living off grid; practicing good land stewardship and producing nutrition-dense food from the land. These processes include enhancing eco-system dynamics in the surrounding environment and establishing community-based enterprises that plug into local markets.

Theresa Wigley

Theresa grew up in the rural Eastern Cape in a family that strove to live a lifestyle friendly to the planet and accessible to all. From a young age she was exposed to a diversity of realities that created the foundation for her deep love for people, the land and the relationships between them.

She is currently a creative collaborator at The Way Between Collective where she uses her powerful visual storytelling skills to distill complex information into compelling content that is simple yet engaging. She strives to share her knowledge of media with youth to capacitate them to tell their own stories.

Abongile Centane

Abongile was born in Mount Frere, Eastern Cape, where he grew up in a big family with his cousins and grandfather, who was a farmer, house builder and carpenter. While his parents worked away from home in other provinces.

He went to school in the Eastern Cape after which he went to Johannesburg and trained and worked as an assistant welder. After two years he moved to Cape Town where he met Calvin Dias and learnt about permaculture through a 2 year Urban Resilience internship. He also participated in the YoUbuntu Youth Exchange 2018, and attended a Reconnecting with Nature course, both of which have inspired him and led to many new initiatives, where he continues to be an inspiration to all around him.

He now works in The Daily Goods Store in Muizenberg whilst simultaneously writing short stories, learning how to make films using a phone and making interesting creations from wood, just like his grandfather.