On 5 February 2023, Return to Origin in collaboration with Ndlambe Municipality and the Ekuphemleni Community brought home the Sustainable Together exhibition. The exhibition, born out of the beautiful intergenerational work of the community, finally came to its permanent home to stay in the new community Eco Sun Hall, in Kenton-on-Sea. Return to Origin gifted the exhibition in its entirety to the Ekuphemleni Community. The Amazwi South African Museum of Literature kindly gifted supportive essential posters which gave context to the work. We also want to thank the photographer, Ndiphiwe Kwakweni, and the sound artist, Kuhle Ngqezana.
It was wonderful to call the community together in this way. Original members of the Sustainable Together Project, official dignitaries from the Ndlambe Municipality, the principal, teachers and school children from Ikamvalesizwe School, as well as faithful supporters of this work, especially the POSH shop. We would like to thank them all. They provided us with song and prayer, good wishes and, most important of all, possibilities for a sustainable future through the Ekuphumleni manifesto.
After acknowledging those who came before us we, made offerings to our faithful earth shrine: lighting a red candle for purpose, and a blue for peace, healing and reconciliation of our painful histories. We lit a yellow candle that represented earth, rooting all our prayers for sustainability and growth. White for healing, vision and dreaming, and green for “Grow with Me” - the ongoing theme for this community. The candle was handed on to each generation before finally being replanted into the earth by a child, representing the next generation.
If you find yourself in the beautiful Kenton-on-Sea, please go and view the Sustainable Together exhibition and spread the word. The Ndlambe Municipality now holds the ongoing work of the community: to continue planting seeds and rooting the manifesto.
Return to Origin sends many blessings of abundance for this community to thrive, and trusts that the exhibition and its legacy will keep the fire of purpose alight.
- The Return to Origin team
“Today I want to dress like I’m going to a wedding.”
That’s what Yondela’s little girl had said to her in the morning as they got ready to attend the Handover Ceremony at the Eco Sun Hall in Ekuphumleni, Kenton-On-Sea, in the Eastern Cape. Her dress was ball gown-esque: bright red with a billowing skirt covered in sparkles, which mirrored the swirling clay designs on her face; the intricate facial symmetry of traditional amaXhosa finery. Her long braids gathered on top of her head as she raced around the hall with a crowd of similarly attired children; posing proudly in front of posters featuring the voices and faces of their loved ones; speaking with pride and strength about the fortitude and wisdom which is their cultural birthright.
Yondela herself glowed in magnificent traditional attire, listening to her own voice ringing out from the powerful audio recording which accompanies the Sustainable Together exhibition being gifted back to the community of Ekuphumleni who had created it. It was these moments which made the Handover Ceremony truly special. Witnessing those who had co-created the exhibition seeing their words and lives reflected back to them with honour in a space which could finally claim to host these stories for transmission to future generations.
And the future generations came: from school learners who did not hesitate to volunteer their incredible performance skills to hold the ceremonial space with heart-opening songs and movement; local youth taking selfies with the Ekuphumleni Manifesto; children visiting from adjoining neighborhoods who listened with respect and attention; to the masses of little ones whose obvious delight at being at the centre of this occasion, celebrating their heritage, lives, families and futures, was palpable and wonderful.
Sustainable is ultimately about being Together, united by bonds rooted in love, mutual respect, acknowledgement and boundless joy.
- Dominique Santos, Community Outreach Director, Return to Origin