Mandanga Enterprises – Unique skin care products

We often hear how beauty is more than skin deep. That’s most definitely the case when it comes to the Mandanga Indigenous skin care range, which rather than being just skin and beauty products are also the distilled essence of ancient botanical knowledge born of Country and culture and caring for the land.


The name Mandanga is based on ‘manda’, a Western Desert word for land, which in the context of Mandanga products means ‘all wellness and goodness comes from land’.

Kerry and Michael Colbung are the founders of Mandanga Enterprises. They both have strong family and cultural ties across the Western Desert region of Australia with a cultural footprint expanding across SA, WA and into the NT. Kerry and Michael are the holder of several ancient recipes that are at the heart of Mandanga’s products.

Kerry’s late mum had extensive knowledge of bush medicines and plants and people used to seek out her and her products. Michael’s grandmother also held knowledge about Indigenous botanicals. So it’s only fitting Mandanga’s unique range of Indigenous skin care products should have its beginnings in conversations Kerry had with her mum about protecting the land and protecting and preserving her mum’s knowledge of Indigenous botanicals for future generations.


‘If we share the knowledge and pass on the distilled essence of that ancient wisdom through our skin care products, we also have to protect it.’

Ethical use of traditional plant knowledge and plant sovereignty is crucial to our ongoing identity and survival of our culture.

‘We’re connecting an ancient culture with a new, modern regime of commercialisation – so we can’t just hand it all over, we have a responsibility to put strong foundational protections in place.’

‘Would-be manufacturers tend to be more interested in finding out the active ingredients in the plants we use than in making the products. What they don’t get is that the plants we use, if you don’t treat them right you don’t get a good product. We protect the environment and make sure that we are not stripping plant stocks on Country.’


‘Our great grandmothers and great grandfathers brought this knowledge into the missions and preserved and kept it secret under extreme regimes of colonisation. We have to prevent the plants and the cultural knowledge from being exploited as well as teach our children and grandchildren to retain their identity, traditional knowledge so when then go on Country they know how to connect, respect it and come back stronger in body and spirit.’


Kerry and Michael will be at the Reconciliation SA Breakfast on the 13th February 2020 and you can experience their massage oils, balms and samples their teas.




Bumpa's Legacy - Not just the ASG

The ASG OG's

In 1973, respected Elder, Uncle Cyril ‘Bumpa’ Coaby, got together with now Greens Party member and respected Elder, Uncle Moogy Sumner, and a few others, to get themselves off the grog. What started as a group of brothers trying to stay sober, driving around in a clapped out old car that needed one its doors held shut with an over-hanging elbow out the window, to get others to follow suite, transformed into the Aboriginal Sobriety Group.

Based in South Australia (but now with interstate clients), the ASG helps to address substance abuse, homelessness, mental health and more, and has been a staple of Indigenous leadership and advancement for more than 40 years, and is only growing. With several sites across Adelaide, Monarto and the Riverland, the ASG aids those in need. This is thanks to a lot of passionate individuals who share Bumpa’s vision and uphold his legacy - albeit with little funding.


ASG Rehab Centre - Lakalinjeri Tumbetin Waal

One of NITV’s latest ‘Our Stories’ episodes is Bumpa’s Legacy – which aired on January 2, and explores who Bumpa is, what he is about, his experiences, and his important legacy – the Aboriginal Sobriety Group. Bumpa’s Legacy is currently available to watch for free on SBS on demand.

Written and Directed by Bumpa’s grandson, Darren Harris (pictured, to the left), the film covers how Bumpa, Uncle Moogy and the other members of the newly formed ASG began championing their vision. While the mob from 1973 recall their memories from the beginning, we also hear from current and more recent clients who have either turned their life around, or are in the process, as well as Darren Harris himself.


Harris wanted to make a film about Bumpa because “He’s (Bumpa) got all this wealth of knowledge and we need to try and capture as much as we can on film so we can pass it down through generations”.

Harris goes on to say, “It wasn’t just about what he established with the foundation of the Aboriginal Sobriety Group, but his whole life journey. From the bombing of Darwin, evacuation from Darwin, all the way to Katherine, then down to Balaklava, SA.”

“I understand there’s not a lot of attention out there in the media unless its of a negative nature and it’s quite rare that we see our mob succeeding portrayed through the media”, which the ever-selfless Harris says is another issue he wanted to address.

Founder and CEO of Ochre Dawn, Rebecca Wessels (pictured, to the right) was on board as a producer for the short film, which was not her first time on the film set, having assisted on another couple short films for ‘Our Stories’ in the past, one including the journey of her own mother, a member of the Stolen Generation, as well as making corporate films through Ochre Dawn. Rebecca was interested in this film from the beginning, after being contacted about it by Adelaide’s Media Resource Centre.

Rebecca’s experience in youth work, helped convince her that this community driven organization was certainly worth making a film about. Wessels says “I’m a former youth worker myself so anything around community services is interesting to me and a passion.”

But everything needed to come together just right. Wessels recalls that after a “coffee and a chat, it just sounded wonderful, not just from the community impact perspective but the films perspective that it was going to be about his (Darren Harris) grandfather’s legacy”.

Bumpa’s Legacy, is an inspiring, gentle film - a successful collaboration between Darren and Rebecca that shows that Indigenous leadership, ingenuity and determination is alive and well, and has been for a very long time.

The Aboriginal Sobriety Group is an important not-for-profit organization.