“The times are urgent, so let us slow down”
– Bayo Akomolafe
Akoma is an invitation to recalibrate our patterns of being.
We strive to integrate Life Principles into everything we do; starting with our own internal patterns and within the initiatives we champion.
Horse & Herlu, Linbro Gardens.
Beyond our aim to create beautiful and grounding environments that bring out what is alive in us, we aim to create a culture that promotes the same. We hope to showcase these practices and results, to encourage others to embark on their own journeys of transformation.
We believe in the power of thoughtful, smart and (com)passionate people who don’t shy away from having skin in the game. We’re a lean, values-driven team that’s determined to show that better is possible.
Zubair (Zubs) is Akoma’s Zen. He looks for, and often finds, peace in the everyday chaos.
Born and raised in Joburg, he is intrigued by how people interact with space and is inspired by the world – whether it is the context of concrete urban spaces or vast natural ones. He has a background in Architecture and an MBA from Wits where he spent time researching innovation and creativity. He has over a decade of experience in the built environment sector and is inspired to use his knowledge and experience to add substance to economic, social and built environment interventions.
Oliver ‘Oli’ Keisner.
Oliver is Akoma’s investigator – he gets a bizarre sense of pride (his own words) in understanding and using complicated or obscure worlds of information. He grew up in London, where he studied social anthropology and briefly worked in finance before meeting Mo and Julia and joining AsaDuru 5 years ago. He has also set up a scholarship which supports the secondary education of children in western Uganda. Oliver loves cooking, dancing and making jokes, all of which he is arguably better at than anything he does for Akoma (also his own words).
Khulile (Kools) is our Head of Hospitality and is passionate about creating inclusive spaces that facilitate healing and promote more honest and conscious conversation. She studied English, Public Policy and Administration, and Psychology at the University of Cape Town.
2 years ago, she started her Hospitality Consultancy, MilaSande SA, after more than 12 years in the industry; and would like to see more black female representation and ownership within the hotel space. Kools is a vegan with her nose constantly in a book, plays 4 musical instruments, salsas on the weekend, would sell both her lungs and kidneys (her words) for travel, and is in search of the perfect cappuccino!
Mohamed (Mo) is our Pathfinder at Akoma and drives strategy as well as rammed earth projects. Born in Sudan and raised in Sweden, he founded AsaDuru 7 years ago to rethink our relationship to the built environment. He’s a former elite athlete (karate), altMBA alumni, and former WEF Global Shaper. Mo is also co-hosting the coming podcast “Hidden Majority” and loves to read, philosophise and play capoeira.
Julia Jane Persson.
Julia is our Visual Alchemist at Akoma and protects our family’s brands and visual identities across platforms. Born in Sweden and now based in South Africa, she has always been intrigued by the rhythm, stories, and identities of spaces and how people connect within them. She’s an altMBA alumni, photographer, and a former karate elite athlete. She recently did her first Vipassana 10 days silent retreat (recommend dearly), and loves dancing, thunderstorms, and typefaces.
Pedro Montero Gosalbez.
Pedro is not; he just becomes; and, therefore, he does not so much seek to believe about some-thing, but tries his best to attend with every-one and every-thing he lives with.
Born in Alicante, he has worked as an architect with Francis Kéré, studied as an anthropologist with Tim Ingold, and researched at the Department of Architecture and Built Environment at Northumbria University. From there, he has gone into sustainable business and independent research ranging from agriculture and education, through immunology and epidemiology, to design and construction. Bringing together family, business, and academia, he researches for life and lives for research.
Herlu is one of our Architects at Akoma who’s especially attentive to detail and diligent design. He’s passionate about communities and cultures and explores how people can engage within a diverse, regenerative ecosystem to benefit all forms of life. He finds his inspiration in nature and strives towards a socially just, caring, and kind world.