Kulani Nyoni is an experienced Transcendental Meditation (TM) teacher, treasured faculty member of the Maharishi Institute for over 10 years, and National Director for TM in Zimbabwe. After witnessing the incredible effect TM had on his own life, he dreams of empowering the people of Zimbabwe with this life transforming technique. Kulani travels the length and breadth of Zimbabwe sensitising local communities, traditional and government leaders on the benefits of TM for Zimbabweans with many learning under Kulani and experiencing the benefits for themselves.
Kulani is originally from Dorset Resettlement area in Zimbabwe’s Midlands Province, only 55km from our new campus in Zvishavane. He was a member of the Zimbabwean military for 5 years. When he left the military, Kulani began experiencing many issues. “I had so much anger and aggression,” said Kulani. “I would drink alcohol alone at home and then go out and start fights on the street. I was constantly in trouble with the police for inciting violence.”
Unbeknownst to him at the time, Kulani was suffering from severe Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder from his experience of war. He was disappointed as he lamented at how respected he was by his community as a child, he was even elected head boy at school. He began to question “which Kulani do I want to be, a trouble maker or a leader?”
Kulani decided to seek help to address his issues and find a way back to his true self. He tried counselling through different churches and organisations but found he was still experiencing distressing flashbacks and lived in a constant state of stress. In search of something more, he googled solutions for stress management and came across Transcendental Meditation. Unfortunately, the closest TM centre was in Johannesburg, South Africa or Lusaka in Zambia and he could not afford the travel and tuition fees at the time.
However, Kulani’s opportunity came a few years later when he moved to Johannesburg to study for his bachelors degree in Business Administration. A friend recommended the Maharishi Invincibility Institute (MII), a tertiary institution founded by Taddy Blecher which aimed to provide disadvantaged students with accessible consciousness-based education that included employment at the university during their course of study. Kulani applied to the MII in 2010 and became a Teaching Assistant while he completed his degree and finally began his TM practice.
Kulani was so passionate about TM and the many benefits it brought to his life that he wanted to advance his learning. Towards the end of 2014, he travelled to Thailand to do his Teacher Training Course as he felt “the best way of learning is to teach others.” Kulani remained as a faculty lecturer at the Maharishi Institute and became the National Director for TM in Zimbabwe. Based in Johannesburg, he would travel back and forth to teach TM courses until March 2018 when he decided to return to his beloved Zimbabwe permanently.
Bringing TM to Zimbabwe
Kulani established the TM Centre and the Maharishi Invincible Africa Institute in Harare, a technological institute providing ICT training through consciousness-based education. He taught over 100 students until March 2020 when the Covid-19 pandemic saw a series of lockdowns in Zimbabwe prohibiting tertiary students from training at the institute. However, primary and secondary schools remained open during lockdown restrictions which inspired Kulani to establish a secondary education school in partnership with MII.
He found the perfect location in Zvishavane, an old mining town in the Midlands Province of Zimbabwe. When mining ceased in 2013, it left the local community without livelihoods and unemployment rose. Many resorted to gold panning as a means of survival, including children. With the closest high school, a 5km walk away, many students gave up their education to pan for gold. Recognised the need and opportunity in Zvishavane, Kulani began negotiations with the Mining company to use a dilapidated township hall to establish the Maharishi Invincibility Secondary School. The school is registered with Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Education and will teach students from form 1 – 4, with plans to expand to younger students from grades 5 – 7 in the same neighbourhood.
The campus has ample buildings and space to accommodate other courses, such as this Fashion Design program for women and girls as well as an ICT program. The Institute aims to employ the ‘Learn and Earn’ self-sustaining model; as the courses get up and running, productions such as clothes, uniforms and ICT services will eventually create revenue streams to fund the institute and empower students and the local community.
Plans for the future
Kulani is also the co-Director of the Maharishi Institute in Botswana and plans to establish Maharishi Institutes across the Southern African region with the ultimate desire of expanding across the whole continent of Africa, watch out for this rising star!
Kulani Nyoni, Program Director