The Kagyu centres of southern Africa are in the lineage of His Holiness the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje, head of the Karma Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism. They are under the spiritual guidance of Dr Akong Tulku Rinpoche, founder of Kagyu Samye Ling Tibetan Centre in Scotland and have been active since the early 1970s. Rob Nairn is Akong Rinpoche’s representative in Africa.

Four arms of activity include:

  • Buddhist teachings,
  • Tara Rokpa Therapy,
  • The environment and
  • Humanitarian aid

Teachings include courses on meditation and various aspects of dharma including pujas (traditional practices of chanting, visualisation and mantras), as well as residential retreats ranging from two days to one month.

Mindfulness Africa is a secular approach which aims to allow people to develop a deep and non-judgmental acquaintance with their own thoughts and emotions.

Centres are in Johannesburg (Kensington and Randburg), Cape Town (Kenilworth), and Harare, Zimbabwe. Our retreat centre is the Tara Rokpa Centre near Groot Marico in the North West Province. There are two smaller Samye Dharma Study groups affiliated with Kagyu Africa – Grahamstown and Durban


  • To engender peace and happiness through fostering greater awareness of the need for compassion and understanding in all areas of human activity.
  • To contribute to the spiritual welfare of our times.
  • To help wherever possible to all those in need.
  • To preserve the religious tradition and culture of Tibet.


  • Openness – everyone is welcome to come to our centres and to participate in our activities regardless of their background and regardless of whether they are Buddhist or not.
  • Authentic Lineage – our centres host teachings given on all aspects of Buddhism, meditation and mindfulness from senior teachers in an authentic lineage.
  • Peace and Relaxation – our centres aim to be places with a warm and welcoming environment and a positive atmosphere, where people can relax, enjoy the peace and tranquillity and regenerate.
  • Suitable for all levels – we have a wide range of courses with everything from regular beginners sessions, to teachers who can give direction given on a personal path and long-term retreats which are available for people wishing to deepen their practice.
  • Healing and wellbeing – our centres aim to be places of healing where everyone can come to find a path helping them to resolve crisis, find healing and bring about personal growth.
  • Community – we aim to have a warm welcoming environment and a positive supportive community where visitors can meet like-minded people.
  • Retreat and Sanctuary – our centres are places of retreat and sanctuary where visitors can find peace away from the busy world and the pressures of life.