Rudy Boribon comfortably heads the entire Tongabezi team. Well travelled guests describe him as "the most hospitable resort manager we have ever come across" He has settled at Tonga following an illustrious career in tourism that included highlights such as organizing the Mauritius wedding for KK and Tina Rosberg. A natural chief, his first memories are of leading his sister by the hand and he credits his father with teaching him the discipline it takes to run a big organization effectively.
As a happy little boy he worshiped his older brothers and dreamt of being the Captain of a Cargo ship – he followed his vision and briefly did take to the seas but today he is far happier in a small boat on the Zambezi! His fantasy dinner companions would be Che Guevara and Ava Gardner, he is happy to discuss politics and religion and his pet hate is repeating the same instruction 20 000 times!
Agness Kamwi grew up in a women’s world. Raised by her Mum (her parents divorced when she was a small baby) she was very close to her older sister and fondly remembers her childhood. Aggie, as she is known in the Tonga family is super efficient, always perfectly turned out and ready to ensure everything around her runs smoothly. 10 Wacky Aggie facts:
Dadu wanted to be an electrician when he was little and his mother was the greatest influence during his childhood. He met his future wife while working at Sun International and they are planning a traditional wedding to seal their union. They have a son and a daughter. Dadu would love to meet President Obama. He describes himself as cool and down to earth (and jokingly says he would strangle his friends one by one if they dare disagree!) He is always trying to eat a little less sugar, loves that he is constantly meeting new people through his job and he doesn’t mind discussing both religion and politics.
Quentino is a natural born guide – his first memories are canoeing the Zambezi and catching birds in the bush with his young brother – who is still his best friend! A fun loving, easygoing guy he has a strong sense of family and his saddest memory is leaving the family home. Quentino was very frightened on his first day at school and remembers the date ( 1 February 1980) very clearly! His personality soon won over teachers and pupils and the happiest day of his childhood was when he passed Grade 7.
He is a traditional chap, married with one son and two daughters – not counting six children outside wedlock! ;> He loved guiding Debra Messing and hopes to have the chance to guide Antonio Banderas. He tries to resist eating too much – his favourite meal is Nshima with Bream. Quentino believes we are on earth to do good things!
Miyaze had strict parents and her mother was the greatest influence during a childhood in Kabwe. Miyaze always loved reading and remembers her first day in school fondly. English was her favourite subject and she would love to meet Barack Obama. Miyaze has two little girls and a loving husband who took her to the banks of the Zambezi on their first date. She particularly enjoys the marketing aspects of her job in reservations and her friends often mention her cheerful personality. We are here to live life to the fullest and Miyaze intends to do just that!
Nyambe fondly remembers coming to Livingstone for the first time. He was born in a military hospital as his father was in the Air Force and Nyambe’s childhood dream was to become a soldier. He hero worshipped Peter Zuze who was the first Zambian Air Force commander and President Kenneth Kaunda. Nyambe was a star soccer player and very popular as a teenager. He describes himself as VERY married and has been blessed with four boys. Nyambe’s ideal dinner companion is Nelson Mandela, he is very good at keeping secrets and he loves meeting new people through his job.
Chande started in 1998 with TEX (Tongabezi Expeditions) when TEX was mainly mobile safaris. Then in 1999 he joined the main lodge as a senior guide. He loves engineering an itinerary that results in a life enriching experience for his guests. He is very interested in nature conservation and is a facilitator at the LTA for Guiding & Communication. Chande is also a keen member of the Zambian wildlife conservation, Archaeological & Zoological clubs. He loves reading and is an excellent birder, with an extensive knowledge of all our Fauna & Flora. Chande is married with six children. The eldest is 24 years old and the youngest only three.
Having joined Tongabezi in 1993 as a general worker, he later transferred to Sindabezi island as a room attendant. He made the decision to return to Tongabezi main camp and work as an handy man while learning to be a boatman. Godfrey trained as a guide and obtained his full qualifications in 2003. He is most at home in a canoe and is a very keen birder. His favourite stories relive being chased by a hippo once and having a crocodile think his paddle might make a good snack. Godfrey loves being with guests and sharing his vast experience and extensive knowledge of the Zambezi & the nature and culture surrounding Livingstone.
Fabias joined Tongabezi on the 21st April, 1995 in a position that used to be known as a handy man. He was carrying luggage and water for the bucket showers until 1998 when he was trained as a boatman. He transferred to work on Sindabezi Island as a barman/waiter. In 2004 Fabias started to train as a guide and qualified within the same year. He is a very keen birder and knows approximately 400 birds by name! He also loves being in any boat—especially if he can spy more birds from there. Fabias is your man on our sunrise boat cruises. He is married with four children and lives in Tongabezi village.
The secret to a happy life? Zui Nawa believes that a happy mood is the secret to living a fulfilled existence.
He counts his father as his most important influence. ‘Dad brought me up from childhood and advised me on how to conduct myself throughout my life.’ He enjoyed sports when he was little and to this day he runs (even though he complains about age catching up!) to the Zawa gate once a week.
There is no such thing as a difficult client – Zui relishes challenge and are always keen to accommodate new diets or requests. His personal favourite meal is a toss up between beef with Red Wine Jus or Chicken Tikka Masala.
He would love to meet the top chefs. Gordon Ramsay is a particular favourite and he excuses the English chef’s swearing laughing while he says ‘He won’t kill me – it’s just the job!”
As Zui notes:
‘Happy chef - happy cooking and happy life Sad chef - always crazy cooking and crazy life.’
Brian is in command of the boat, expertly navigating the Zambezi between Tongabezi and Sindabezi Island. Whether the Zambezi River is high or low Brian is all about flexibility! He makes it his business to always keep smiling. Being an ambassador for his country gets him out of bed every day and from there on out his family (Brian has two boys) and his guests are his daily motivation.
A very grounded fellow, Brian is not interested in playing 'what if' games. Safety first. He doesn’t want to pick something to save from a hypothetical burning house – he is far too worried about making sure there is no fire in the first place.
And with Brian on duty we know the fire is definitely going to come second.
His heroes are the people he guides, he loves the fact that his job allows him to meet brand new people almost every day and his outgoing nature makes him the perfect fit for his job description. ‘I’m a people’s person’ he says ‘The people I meet every day touch my heart and make me smile. I love seeing their lives change in front of me because of their experience in Zambia”
The Tongabezi Family What I need is an exact list of specific unknown problems we might encounter. (Lykes Lines Shipping Funniest Management Comment Competition entry)
African Safari Camps by their very nature, specialize in daily helpings of new, never before encountered tribulations. So while hiring people is something of a science when you bring very diverse ways of life and culture together thousands of miles from where your guests call home, it becomes an art-form. In the tourism industry having staff willing to interpret and execute the mission is not a luxury it is essential.
Tongabezi focuses on the development of human capacity, leveraging the expertise of our staff to enrich the local community and leave every visitor to Zambia with a lasting impression of the true assets of this country. Tongabezi Staff members are empowered to dream, imagine and create and on the following pages you are invited to meet the extraordinary people we consider part of the Tongabezi family.
At Tongabezi we run the Lobster Inc. programme that enables all members of staff to study for free and earn internationally recognised accreditation in the hospitality discipline of their choice.