Inspiring people to re-imagine their relationship to their world
  • Adopts a unique approach to programmes that acknowledges the importance of inner work and personal growth alongside ecological awareness as a vehicle for truly sustainable social transformation.
  • Facilitates initiatives that draw on indigenous knowledge systems, teachings and practices with a focus on rekindling a connection to the natural world.
  • Cultivates a culture of belonging through community building initiatives that bring youth and elders together to exchange perspectives and stories, practices and teachings.
  • Advocates principles of reciprocity and attentiveness to nature as one of the most transformative and long-lasting forms of cultural and environmental education.
A place where community, conservation and natural law can co exist

Our Projects

Return to Origin facilitates co-created earth-based initiatives and projects in underserved local communities. Our work draws on indigenous knowledge systems, teachings, and practices with a focus on cultivating a connection to land and nature. Inspiring re-imagined relationships that value the natural world as teacher, and facilitating practices grounded in such knowledge is proving to be one of the most transformative and long-lasting forms of cultural and environmental education. Through intergenerational community-building initiatives, a culture of belonging can be fostered.

Our projects include community workshops, exhibitions, ceremony and storytelling. We adopt a unique approach that acknowledges the importance of inner work and personal growth alongside ecological awareness as a vehicle for truly sustainable social transformation.

Community Ventures
When we share our gifts, our community thrives
Our Stories
Stories Matter
Leaving a legacy for the next generation
When we work together, we grow together

Leadership Program

"To lead is to bring my gifts to the world and to inspire others to do the same." - Angelique Michaels, RTO Graduate Leader

Meet our Graduated Leaders

Return to Origin's voice for the next generation

A rites of passage must be marked with a ceremony witnessed by the community.

These young men and women have completed a 3 year program in returning to their origin.  Through deep nature connection, rigorous inner work, reflection and creative projects they have received direct hands on lived experience essential to Indigenous Knowledge Leadership Programs.

They have tracked with the Khomani San Bushmen, walked the Umfolozi trail, studied san rock paintings with Dr Jeanette deacon, Craig Foster and Leon Lewis has worked with them as a guide to their original signature and Anna Breytenbach provided animal communication training.

They have served underserved communities around Cape Town through our Guardians for Nature program, providing day long trainings to reconnect young people to nature.  Through Return to Origin's Trees for Tomorrow project they have along with the community planted nearly a 100 trees.  We have witnessed unique transformation when inner and outer work are a parallel process often overlooked by most leadership programs. 

We celebrate the next steps of their journey.

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“The one who plants trees, knowing that he will never sit in their shade, has at least started to understand the meaning of life.” – Rabindranath Tagore


Return to Origin has come full circle and, as such, it is the best time to leave our legacy intact. Our Sustainable Together project which began in 2021 is reverberating towards where the water needs to flow to in order to bring the necessary healing. The fire of purpose continues to be ignited, the work is being rooted deep into the earth and holding the vision of Return to Origin to return us to a culture of belonging. The mountains hold our stories and the continued wisdom for the communities we have served to re-imagine our relationship to our world, and Nature in all its glory has assisted with some of the changes needed to bring us to our truth.

Since beginning our work in 2014, we have served underserved communities in Cape Town and the Eastern Cape, including Baphumelele, the Vrygrond community, and the Ekhupemleni community. We have planted several hundred trees, and reconnected intergenerational communities to each other, their lands and their purpose. We have brought healing, cultural skill-sharing, held and honoured painful, hidden histories. We have left a legacy for the communities to pick up and share with the next generation through workshops, exhibitions, days in nature, as well as artwork and drama.

The three-year Indigenous Knowledge Leadership program, and the consequent service of Angelique Michaels and Arnoldt Michaels, who is now a director of Return to Origin, is both sacred reciprocity and testament that inner and outer nature is inseparable in the unfolding of who we are, and requires a deep commitment to be here.

Thank you to all our supporters, the greater Return to Origin Community, volunteers and donators. Special thanks to Kevin Naidoo, Kassie Naidoo, Craig Foster, Jeanette Deacon, Anna Breytenbach, Leon Lewis, the Khomani Bushmen, Khoi Khonnexion, Rika Fouché, Toni Giselle Stuart, Zayaan Khan, Lincoln Meyer, Arnoldt Michaels, Angelique Michaels, Dominique Santos, Vuyisani Nobi and Siphenkosi Zintoyinto and POSH Shop. We could not have done this without you.

Continue to follow us on Facebook and Youtube.

We don’t say goodbye as we are not gone, and we are still very much a part of the greater whole.

“…and in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.” - The Beatles, The End

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