Arnoldt Michaels is a graduated leader from RTO’s Indigenous Knowledge Leadership Programme.
Growing up in the turbulent early years of post-Apartheid Cape Town with an ancestral heritage ranging from indigenous hunter-gatherers and pastoralists, slaves and labourers from the east, as well as colonial farmers and fortune-seekers, fostered in him a sense of displacement that resulted in his early adult years spent traveling up and down the coast like a nomad. These adventures led him to falling in love with the sheer natural beauty and cultural diversity to be found throughout the South African landscape.
It was not until his path crossed with Mbali Marais and Craig Foster, during a fundraising film presentation of Return to Origin’s (RTO) work and vision, that he realised what he had been seeking all along was a place of belonging. This was the start of his homecoming.
Through his involvement in the Indigenous Knowledge Leadership Program, he not only learned to connect to the natural world and ancient knowledge systems on a deeper level, but he has also had the opportunity to facilitate workshops and introduce disadvantaged youth to their natural heritage. These experiences, in addition to a wealth of inspiring guides and teachers, has awakened in him a sense of purpose and recognition of his own passion for storytelling.
He is currently pursuing his Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Science through the University of South Africa with the vision of contributing to a new narrative regarding heritage and belonging in his community.
“Through knowing where we come from, we can find faith in where we are going.”