AYAMA, isiXhosa for Someone to Lean on

“What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead” Nelson Mandela 18 July 1918 – 05 December 2013.

Social responsibility is not so much of a responsibility as it is a movement instigated to uplift and promote change within the community.

Before moving to South Africa, we went to visit Robben Island, and it was here that we had an epiphany. We were in one of the groups of about 25 people touring the island. Our tour guide was an African woman. Being wrongfully incapacitated once herself, she still beamed with pride with a smile filled with cheerfulness. We couldn’t understand how this was possible. We couldn’t resist in asking her how she could not hate white people, having been through such a traumatic experience, and yet stand infront of us wearing such a huge smile?

Her response to us was: “We need to show the world what happened. Through showing and forgiving we know it won’t happen again.”…

We were moved.

We’ve read about Mandela online and in the media, and were intrigued with this man having many relate to as “great” and “paramount”. How this man managed to be released from jail without hating any, without carrying any hate in his heart or wanting to seek revenge.

After listening to the tour guide and hearing her story, physically standing on the island and seeing the tiny cell, did our minds fully comprehend what we’ve been reading about for years….

We fell in love with Mandela. We fell in love with his perseverance and determination for change. We fell in love with the love he had for his people and for his country. It was then that we made the cognitive decision that if we ever moved to South Africa, we wanted to do anything to add to his story, whether big or small, but we also wanted to be a part of the beautiful story of change for South Africa.

At AYAMA, we are a family and we all look after each other. We started small by investing in the health and welfare of my staff and their families. The Perdjie School Project was started to enrich the lives of the future generation of South Africans.

We hope to set an example and encourage change amongst the little community we have established on the farm, keeping his legacy alive one project at a time.

-Michela & Attilio