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Core team

Profile picture of Theresa Wigley.

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 has over 15 years experience in the communications industry where she used her powerful visual storytelling skills to distil complex information into compelling content to make it accessible to much wider audiences. She believes that in order to overcome many of the barriers that are stacked against the majority, we need to remember old ways and create new ways that allow for each other to be authentically seen and heard, and this is what drives her passion in the communications field.

Profile image of Marliese with hills in the background.

Marliese Maritz

Marliese has had an interesting and varied career, from investment administration, to shoe-making, cheffing, natural house building and facilities management. But the highlight of those years for her was working in the NGO sector educating scholars and assisting schools in establishing viable permaculture practices and food forests. When she heard about Amava, she recognised a similarity in their ethos and vision, in the work of educating, uplifting and enriching communities. She is currently furthering her studies in accounting and in this role is able to use her skills to contribute to Amava by assisting with financial administration, planning, and management processes.
Profile picture of Zaid smiling and standing in front of a bright yellow wall.

Zaid Philander

Zaid Philander is a passionate social entrepreneur who trains people from under-resourced communities how to design, sew and make upcycled products under the brand I Scream & Red. Zaid works as the Community Art facilitator Programme Manager at the Butterfly Art Project, aimed at empowering adults how to implement healing art classes in under-resourced communities with traumatised individuals. He is passionate about networking and as a result of the Pollinating Pride in People Programme at Amava Oluntu, he also coordinates the Vrygrond Community Peace Garden at the Vrygrond Community Centre. Zaid will put his entrepreneurial experience into building a team to develop the Amava Market Place and to mentor local youths to promote their products and services.

Zoe-Rachel McKarthy

Zoe-Rachel studied psychology in 2020 and became a part of the Amava Oluntu community in 2023 for a Cultural exchange program and a program on diversity workshops and discussions. Her passions are in Mental health advocacy, community and individual development and human resources. She enjoys learning about our natural fynbos and about its healing and living properties we can get from nature.

The connections individuals and communities create together is powerful. That network helps us utilise our strength and knowledge to heal, develop and grow to create a better future and share that with others. Together we make the future.