Tjimari Sanderson-Milera has done a lot with his 27 years on earth so far. He has trained and worked as a surf lifesaver, competed for a decade as a professional athlete and even tried his hand as a male model (including some work with us at Life Apparel). And on top of all this, Tjimari is now working to pass his knowledge onto future generations. His life so far has been very far from dull.
Tjimari has recently started up his own business, Kumarninthi. The word "Kumarninthi" is the Kaurna word for "Becoming One" and as its namesake suggests, it is all about strengthening connection though knowledge. We recently caught up with Tjimari to find out more about Kumarnithi, and how it all began.
Tell us a little about yourself, where you grew up and your family ties.
My name is Tjimari Sanderson-Milera, 27 years of age. I was born and raised in Adelaide, South Australia, the traditional land of the Kaurna people. I am an Aboriginal man from the language groups Kokatha (West Coast) and Narungga (Yorke Peninsula) which are both coastal communities in South Australia. I'm also connected with Adnyamathanha (Flinders Ranges) and have spent a lot of time growing up and being on country with family.
You came from a diverse and active background in sport and athletics, can you tell us a little about this?
Growing up I was heavily involved with Surf Life Saving at Grange Surf Club. I then took a liking to Athletics which took be into the world of sprinting. I was a 100m, 200m, 400m. I competed at a national level and competed overseas twice with the Australian Oceania athletics team. I was the runner up in the 2016 Stawell gift and 2016 Bay Sheffield. Athletics led me to the Gold coast where I trained and competed from 2015 through to 2018, before moving home to Adelaide.
You have recently started up your own venture - Kumarninthi - what was the motivation behind this venture?
I have always loved working with youth but more importantly I love my culture and love sharing my culture with other people. Kumarninthi, allows me to have a platform where I can teach my Aboriginal culture to the next generation of school kids and inspire them to be more culturally respectful towards Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples/communities.
Tell us a little about Kumarninthi Cultural Education and the kind of work that you do.
Kumarninthi provides an educational platform where youth from all backgrounds are able to learn about Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander knowledge and history. The program is aligned to the ACARA-F10 framework which allows schools to be able to implement the cultural education session within their schooling structure. On top of the educational programs, I offer a Botanic Gardens Native plant trial, Artwork shops, 1-1 Mentoring with Aboriginal youth and Fitness and Mindfulness sessions.
Do you feel that your background in sports helped to shape your current endeavour? If so, how?
I one hundred percent agree that Athletics has help me become the person I am today. It has showed me so many ways on how I need to change and adapt my life. A lot of skills that I have been able to learn through my training and competing I have transferred across to my professional life.
What do you find to be the most rewarding part of this work?
Most rewarding part of this work would have to be knowing that I am doing everything I can to make an impact on the future for Aboriginal people but also Non-Aboriginal people as well. If I am to educate as many people as possible at a younger age, than that will be a better future for all.
You worked with Life Apparel as a model. Was this your first time modelling? How did you find the experience?
It wasn’t my first time doing some model work but it was most certainly the most I have ever done. It was great fun, got me out of my comfort zone and allowed me to try out new things. Being able to do it with Life Apparel was great.
If you could leave our readers with one message, what would it be?
To encourage all to learn about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and history. Do your own research, learn and grow as a person from the information, you will be able to find and help build a better future for this country and the traditional Aboriginal people of this country.
To find out more about Tjimari and the valuable work that he is doing, visit the Kumarninthi website.