My journey in the Muiz community started in January 2023 and was set up for a three-month internship within the study of Social Work at Amava Oluntu. During this time, I was also able to get involved with other social organizations with the aim to strengthen existing cooperations or contact new people who want to engage further and share some of their wisdom and skills in this interactive learning environment. I love the philosophy of Amava Oluntu and the Muiz Kitchen of not urging anything or anyone into a frame, but to be right there in time for support, creative exchange and to cover common needs “in feeding our mind with peace” (in the words of Michael from the Muiz Kitchen).
The connection to nature and the environment is nowadays again more strongly questioned and tested by youth and adults, for what the sustainable engagement in the Muiz Community Garden with its nutritious meals and weekly vegetable boxes contributes. A big variety of people of all ages and from all over the world come together to combine healthy food with well-being and networking. It is a social support offer in many ways.
Serving and caring in the Muiz Community Garden.
In addition, being involved at the Vrygrond Peace Garden in harvesting vegetables and rearranging the garden design was another constructive experience that brought me closer to the local community and occupational fields. I felt really welcomed and free to add my suggestions and exchange about perspectives, thanks to the green heart and soul of the place and the people involved.
Harvesting and sowing at the Vrygrond Peace Garden Project.
Already at my arrival my gaze was caught in those wonderful mountains which exude a magical presence of its own kind. During my stay, I learned more about those clouds of the ground, its secret Fynbos belt, and the story of its ghosts on the edge of the sky through conversations with local and indigenous people. Everyone is invited to learn about their own history while joining the present with others.
New Moon Tea Ceremony with Tumi at the Amava Oluntu studio – a monthly encounter with ancient traditions and ancestors.
In general, the talents of the youth who engage daily in both spaces are very diverse. I enjoyed assisting in diverse musical, cultural and social events where storytelling, sustainability and communication are the main topics. In this respect, I could support in the preparation of the project “Stories for a better tomorrow” which is an exchange between South African and German youth. The monthly networking were another chance to connect with the local community.
One of the monthly networking events organized by Amava Oluntu at The Commons.
Social care and systems of exchange support this awareness and are probably as old as human mankind. But in the social sector of today, I have become particularly aware of how rocky the path of organizing can be, e.g. in the field of fundraising. A lot of energy is spent without real recognition. The way is the goal – we should learn to deal with disappointments in a positive way, but reality can be harsh and fruitless.
Diving into a different culture strengthens the inner and outer development. I once again discovered the importance of open-mindedness, tolerance and faith in yourself and the people around you. During my engagement, I confronted different forms of discrimination that stem from the legacy of colonial forces and Apartheid. But I also experienced that a strong communal awareness and sense of sharing are powerful ways to dismantle these patterns. From my point of view, collective impact is stronger here than in my country of birth, Germany, as far as a comparison is possible.
The Amava Oluntu team swimming and team day at Silvermines
The encounters with the people here have allowed me to really experience that our own willpower and self-awareness contributes a great deal to who we are or who we want to be. Dealing and engaging with the past drives our present, our future can be more than a repetition of what we have been taught – it can be fulfilling. Degrees and certificates can proof our engagements but they are also snapshots of our way of life and institutional instruments that don’t claim wholeness.
There’s a difference between perceiving life as struggle or challenge. We need to enable each other to be self-confident enough to take up the challenge (and not fight a struggle). However, the question is how to gain self-confidence if you feel no one believes in or cares for you right from its start? This question has occupied my mind during my stay in Muizenberg.
I think networking and free learning spaces like Amava Oluntu and the Muiz Kitchen provide the opportunity to develop empowerment with consideration for the individual and from within the individual. Thank you all for sharing and taking such care of your community, I had a great time.
Selina with the Amava Oluntu Team in January 2023.
Vulnerability and strength, what makes you choose a path?
Depart and regroup, no judge.
Remain active, take a turn or as many you need,
but never be completely convinced.
At the end of this monologue, I would like to summarize in a photographic sentence: