Oh #IMARA2019…where do we begin? Let’s start with magic: the experience was absolutely magical! Women arrived from all over ready, open and willing for a new & different experience and that is exactly what they received. Upon arrival the TRIBE was astounded by the amazing afrocentric stylish decor also provided by South African Tourism, Cocoon Lifestyle & Cheriyasekasi.
After hugs and smiles, they were greeted with welcome drinks followed with a performance by traditional African Zulu dancers, also courtesy of the South African Tourism. Immediately confirming that they were indeed receiving an unparalleled continental homecoming, that they would never forget. Next they each enjoyed small bites and a shared pampering moment of self care at the amazing foot massage station provided by Shea Moisture. Followed by a pool side gathering, dinner & conversation late into the evening.
Day one was dynamic as we set the tone with a welcome keynote, thanking everyone for showing up for themselves and each other. If they didn’t know it then, they would each soon find out that this would indeed be the adventure of a lifetime! The panel discussions opened up minds and hearts, as we delved deeply into the overarching theme of Identity. Including in depth discussions about Mental Health and what it means to be a Daughter of the Diaspora.
In the days that followed, you could feel the expansion and transformation occurring as we began to explore how we move in the world (Poppin’ in Real Life), and also how we relate to one another (Tribe). All done while remembering to be mindful to still take care of ourselves while having fun… From sensational head massages by Design Essentials; mineral makeup with Ms London Makeup; to silent disco yoga by Facebook and amazing dinners & wine tastings featuring Joburg Wine Club & House Of Mandela wines. We learned & luxuriated. Reminding us that we deserved this time to not only reconnect and reflect, but to also reprioritize where we place ourselves on our own “to do” lists in our daily lives.
Within the next days we ventured out as Soul Travellers to reconnect with our roots, while learning about historically significant events that shaped South African, and even global culture (Impact). But we still made time to reconnect as a group, and have an intimate girl talk powered by Clinique about self-care, skin care and everything in between. Capped off with a private movie premiere by a local director! Reinforcing that IMARA, truly is a safe & sacred space to share our stories.
The final two days were all about Alignment & Abundance… we reflected on the time we spent together after venturing out on a fun Safari, and hit the spa then went on to celebrate with an amazing dinner & fireside chat, followed by performances and a party under the stars thanks again to Shea Moisture, South African Tourism and Cheriyasekasi.
On the last day, we reluctantly prepared to say our goodbyes during the fabulous yet relaxed al fresco brunch. Then headed off to shop in Jo’burg, before our final emotive departure.
In all, we shared stories, experiences, resources and supported each other in true sisterhood. Our week was full… and so were our hearts. We remained grateful, as we reflected on all that we experienced. How we were able to learn, grow, truly connect & transform, deeply within such a short amount of time together.
All because we showed up open and willing and held space for one another. Realizing that even though we may come from different places and circumstances; that we are all one, that we are all enough as we are, and that no woman is alone. She just has to find her TRIBE. This, is IMARA. Created for US by US… women. In loving kindness with the pure intention to change the world, starting with ourselves and each other; one woman at a time.
Thank you to all of our partners, including Ethiopian Airways, for supporting the vision and helping to bring it to fruition. We couldn’t have done it without you. And thank you again to the women, who showed up for themselves and each other. IMARA wouldn’t be the same without you and the magic you bring. We are eternally grateful, and very much looking forward to doing it all over again, next year. We hope that you join us again for #IMARA2020 & beyond. Thank you!
Victory & Tori
Co-founders, The Colored Girl & IMARA Retreat