Kwendalo Conversations – 14 March 2024

A decade of discovering the human-nature relationship: What’s new in 2024?

With Dr. Matthew Zylstra and James van Minnen

Ten years ago, Matthew Zylstra completed his doctorate research exploring the impact of meaningful nature experiences and nature connectedness on people’s sense of purpose and motivation to care for the environment.  What seemed a rather obscure and fringe endeavour at the time is increasingly finding its way into mainstream discourse, and in unexpected ways.

For this first series of Kwendalo Conversations,  Matthew will sit down with percussionist James van Minnen to reflect on the essence of his research between 2009 – 2014,  what has emerged in this space since that time and what’s signalling in 2024 and beyond.

We don’t know exactly where this conversation will lead but whispers suggest that it could go from the everyday to the edge: from science to synchronicity… and even psychedelics.

The Essentials

Date: Thursday 14 March 2024

Time: 19.00 – 20.30 | Please arrive by 18.45

Location: The Harmony Centre, Kwendalo, Plettenberg Bay

Contribution: Suggested R50 – R100 (includes tea & refreshments on arrival). 

RSVP by Wednesday, 13 March 2024 

BOOK via, +27 44 004 0366 or +27 63 669 8006


Matthew Zylstra, PhD, completed his transdisciplinary doctorate research through the Dept. of Conservation Ecology & Dept. Curriculum Studies at Stellenbosch University, in partnership with the Sustainability Institute. His publications have informed several international programmes and university curricula. Between 2009 – 2019 he was an outdoor lecturer for undergraduate field studies programmes. Matthew’s recent focus has been on how nature connectedness promotes human wellbeing and planetary health. He is Programme Coordinator for Kwendalo Institute, Scientific Advisor for NatureFix and Research Fellow with the Centre for Sustainability Transitions, Stellenbosch University. His views here may not reflect those of his affiliations. More about his earlier research:


James van Minnen is a professional drummer and percussionist. Apart from becoming fluent on drums playing contemporary Western music, his passion and focus has always been with ethnomusicology, honouring the ancient modalities of music, its inspiration from nature, and finding opportunities to express these elements in settings where ordinary people from modern day life can tap into and access the deeper contemplation and healing which comes with exposure to these sounds and rhythms. He has appeared on many recordings and stages in SA and abroad and was the author of The Cave Project recording in collaboration with Rootspring Music in 2017.

RSVP by Wednesday, 8 May 2024 

BOOK via, +27 44 004 0366 or +27 63 669 8006



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Kwendalo Institute on the Move

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