Dutch Invasion!

Meet Chris Hendriks (front), his daughter Chikonda and Chikonda’s husband Tijerick Dood who made up the ‘Dutch invasion’ on the latest edition of our regular Sunday night radio programme – The Chanters Lodge Experience with the Milli Jam Ingredient featuring George da Soulchild – airing between 20.30 and 21.30 hrs on Zambezi Radio 107.7 fm, Livingstone’s favourite local radio station, every Sunday evening. Chris, Chikonda and Tijerick, Guests staying at Chanters Lodge, kindly agreed to appear on our show, though Chikonda claimed to be ‘shy’. ‘You don’t seem shy’! Milli Jam commented early on in the affair. Giggles!

Chris answered most of the questions on the show and explained that he and his family had come to Zambia to visit a project in Chinsali, Northern Zambia, in which they were involved, setting up a Trades Training School in conjunction with a friend married to a Zambian. The school would initially teach brick laying and plastering to 20 students. Chris said it was hoped to extend the courses later to cover tailoring, agriculture and computers. “Of course” continued Chris “we couldn’t come to Zambia without seeing the mighty Victoria Falls, though my daughter and I have seen it before – Tijerick hadn’t but he has now”! “Why have your children got Zambian names”? Milli Jam wanted to know. Chris explained that Chikonda and her brother Chintu had both been born in Zambia at the time he was teaching at Chadiza Secondary School in Eastern Province, then later at University of Zambia. When they turned 18 the children had been given the option of dropping their Zambian names but had refused to do so! “Good on them”! We said.

The music on the show was great. We opened with ‘Give Me Everything’, by Pitbull ft Ne-Yo, Afrojack and Nayer, (the current UK number one), back to back with Lady Gaga’s ‘Marry the Night’ from her smash hit album ‘Born This Way’. George chose his own track Kaufela’s ‘Pass Me By’ and told listeners he hoped his CD would soon be released. Milli Jam chose ‘Plantain Boy’ by Timaya (plantain – ‘big bananas’ I explained, when asked by the guys) and ‘Play Back’ by Collie Buddz. Diana Vickers with ‘Four Leaf Clover’ and Mohombi’s ‘Fade Away’ were also on our play list and we closed with Kelly Rowland’s ‘Motivation’ ft Jeremih and Lil Wayne.

Chris explained to listeners that he’d left Zambia in order to be able to educate his children in Europe and because he wanted a change from teaching. Before branching out on his own as a consultant he’d been responsible for setting up the computer centre at University of Rotterdam. He was now retired, living comfortably on the coast in Spain just south of Valencia. Tijerick told listeners that he worked at an oil terminal in Rotterdam and that he and Chikonda have two children.

While they’d been in Livingstone the family had spent a whole day at Victoria Falls, taken a game drive in the Mosi-o-Tunya National Park and had lunch at the Arts Cafe to eat Zambian food and watch traditional dancing from around Zambia. They intended taking the sunset cruise on Lady Livingstone before they left for Europe the following Tuesday.

Before we closed we gave listeners Twitter and Facebook updates, plus local and international chart news, including news of the Dutch charts (in English!) We gave away dinner for two at Chanters Lodge, as we do, to the first listener to text us telling us from which country our guests came. Crispin won. This kind, generous, charming Dutch family told us they’d felt at home during their stay at Chanters Lodge and we were happy!


Croft Cottage

Gotta love Twitter. Suddenly I’m friends with Elizabeth Hatchell from the lovely Croft Cottage in Ludlow. Stranger still, her sister lived in Lusaka in the 80’s. Here’s what she says about her beautiful place. She’s @CroftCottageBnB on Twitter for a follow!

Looking for bed and breakfast near Ludlow, Shropshire? Deep in the English countryside, our cottage is surrounded by farmland in the tiny parish of Hope Bagot, far from the throb of commuter traffic – yet only five miles from Ludlow and Tenbury Wells.

For a comfortable bed and memorable breakfast in tranquil, friendly surroundings, you need look no further. Our guests are welcome to enjoy and explore our five acres of garden with an old wild flower meadow with orchids, a young wood, an ancient brook – its banks lined with alders – and a large wildlife pool. This is home to moorhens and mallards – and teems with dragonflies in the summer. We have an active badger sett in the grounds which you may watch from the comfort of a hide on any evening from March to October and even into the winter. Although we have five bridges over the brook you are strongly advised to bring Wellington boots to enjoy the grounds to the full although they are not needed to reach the front door!

The home of HOPE BAGOT BEES, we usually have honey for sale, weather permitting, although the last few years have been difficult for all bees. The white hive in some of the photos is merely ornamental – the bees live tucked away behind trees at the end of the goose field, away from the house.

We have been welcoming guests to The Croft Cottage, a registered smallholding situated on the southern slopes of the Titterstone Clee Hill, for nearly twelve years and are featured in Alastair Sawday’s Bed and Breakfast for Garden Lovers . We hold a Four Star Bed & Breakfast grading from Shropshire Tourism and in November 2009 we were awarded the new EnjoyEngland Breakfast Award.

Highly recommended!


Desiree Mzimela & Helen Mtshali

“Are you on Twitter”? I asked Desiree (left) and Helen, pictured above, as we got into the car on Sunday evening. “Oh yes”. They replied. “What are your Twitter addresses”? I continued. “Well” said Desiree “I’m @DezMzimela and I’m @helenthetruth” said Helen. “I knew it”! I said, which wasn’t quite the truth (sorry), but as the weekend had progressed, I’d had a sneaky feeling that this Helen was @helenthetruth whom I’ve been following on Twitter and whose been following me, for some time now. “Did you book to stay at Chanters Lodge because of Twitter”? I asked. “Yes” Helen replied. “Magic”! I said, and meant it. Then we were on our way to the Zambezi FM studios in Livingstone, where the girls had agreed to be our guests on the latest edition of the Chanters Lodge Experience with the Milli Jam Ingredient featuring George da Soulchild, our regular Sunday night radio show – a great mixture of music and chat airing between 20.30 and 21.30 hrs.

Helen is an investment banker in South Africa and Desiree, a trained physiotherapist, is an assistant director (rehabilitation) with the Department of Health in the Eastern Cape. The girls met at secondary school – Hunt Road School in Durban – and have been friends ever since. They were great fun, telling listeners all they’d packed into their short stay in Livingstone. Desiree had taken the sunset cruise on the African Queen on Friday evening (before Helen had flown in) and had been clubbing the same night, dancing til the small hours. On Saturday evening they’d taken the Royal Livingstone Express enjoying a fabulous six course dinner with wine, on that lovely old reconditioned steam train. On the morning of the show I’d taken the girls to Victoria Falls, they’d loved the loud rushing water and had also managed to bungee jump, fly the flying fox and ride the zip line as well! From there they’d taken the elephant safari with Mukuni Big 5 and ended up having tea at the Royal Livingstone. Great itinerary!

The music on the show was smokin’ hot as usual. Akon’s ‘Love Handles’ and Diddy Dirty Money’s ‘Your Love’ featuring Trey Songz and Rick Ross made a racy start to the show. After some chat with the girls Milli Jam dropped ‘Mailo’ by Jay featuring Petersen, back to back with ‘Palamo’ by Karasa featuring Alpha. Half way through the show we spun Adele’s world-wide smash ‘Someone Like You’ coupled with Jennifer Hudson’s ‘I Remember You’ – title track of her cracking new album. Later we played Akon’s ‘Just A Man’ and Lupe Fiasco’s ‘Stereo Sun’ – a track from Lupe’s album ‘Lasers’ which had just reached number one in the US album charts. ‘Boom’ by Snoop Dogg closed the affair.

We gave away the usual dinner for two to the first person to text us our guests’ country of origin and Ivy was the first of many to get it right – South Africa. The girls told listeners they were both Zulu by tribe, and were clearly proud of it. Helen lives in Joahnnesburg and Desiree eNgocobo. When Milli Jam popped the question, Helen told listeners she was single and Desiree just giggled! They were asked where they’d like to be and what they’d like to be doing ten years from now and they both agreed that they wanted to have lots of money, a husband and children – in that order we gathered. They both planned to pursue their careers and charmingly their care for womens’ rights in Africa. I’d bet they achieve all of that – and more! Great show!


Sarah Knight

Check this wonderful picture of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania with the lovely Sarah Knight in the foreground, before she climbed the mountain in aid of Sparks Childrens Charity. I got to know Sarah on Twitter where she’s @sarknight – well worth a follow!

In her usual life Sarah’s director of a regional recruitment agency – Sarah West Recruitment – and passionate about her industry, local business and her work. Mother to 2 amazing children who inspire her on a daily basis to not only aim high, but to enjoy the little things in life too.

Sarah has a ‘can do’ attitude to life and adventures, she loves life and tries to make the most of every moment and encourage others to do the same. Climbing Kilimanjaro was initially another flippant ‘yes’, little did she know that this adventure would be such a learning experience, bringing the rewards of new friendships and new experiences. That’s without even setting foot on the mountain!

If you follow her blog like I do, then I guess we’ll find out more about her climb when she has time to write. On Twitter she said it was without doubt the toughest thing she’s ever done in her life. Awesome I call it!

Sarah lives in Exeter, just 15 miles from where I was born.


Zone Fam

Wow! George da Soulchild is busy this week with guest blogs! I love it! This piece caught my eye as I’m on Twitter with at least one of Zone Fam. Wishing them all the best! The interview is courtesy of Zamtunes.com

Getting familiar with Zambian rap collective, Zone Fam

Zambian hip-hop collective, Zone Fam continue to be one of the most prolific rap groups in the country since it was formed in 2007. The founders of the group, The Holstar and Pope have successfully managed to turn the group around from a group of young guys jamming at Zone Studios, to a family of talented individuals who bring together their skills into a great musical synergy. The name Zone Fam was derived from the studio name, when one of the original members, Al Kani said the line “You can’t mess with the Zone Fam” in an old track.

The original Zone Fam members were The Holstar, Pope and Al Kani and thereafter, Dope G joined, followed by Jay Rox, Verbal Assasin and Last Thugga. They describe their music as “good Hip Hop period!” They fuse both English and local languages into their lyrics to make it more appealing to the general public.

We caught up with the members of Zone Fam to find out more about their music, the Zambian scene, their future plans and more.

Q. How long has the group been together and how did the group start?
“We have been together for 3 years now. We all started off as solo artists with one producer and eventually became a group of six with a slew of producers.”

Q. When did the group have its major breakthrough?
“Early in 2010 we released a single and video for “Pop Dat Body”, which was well received by our fans. We have over 5000 views on YouTube alone and it still stands as one of our biggest hits. As a group we have one mixtape together, “The Full Script” released in 2010. It was entirely produced by Nigerian Teck-Zilla of Str8 Buttah. As solo artists we have several mixtapes and albums – some are available on our website www.sdrtv.com

Q. What have been some of your highlights as a group?
Our highlights include performing on the same stage as Brick and Lace when they came to Zambia and the everyday love and support we get from our fans.

Q. How has Zambia received your music on the whole?
We have been well received with two videos in rotation on our local broadcaster and our single “Mabhodlela” from the forthcoming album in heavy rotation. We are set to release more singles as the album release draws near. We have our fans to thank for everything.

Q. What should Zambia and Africa expect from the group?
Currently, we are working on our album to be released this year 2011 and several videos that will accompany the album. We are planning to get our name our across Africa and the globe so they can see what we have to offer. So people should look forward to big things this, an album that you have to get your hands on, beautiful music videos, lots of innovation and immaculate lyricism; something different.


Social Media Projections 2011

I liked this from Trevanian Legg – the owner Nigel Legg is pictured above – don’t know if he’s right or not – what do you think?

* Twitter will go mainstream.
I’m surprised that, with around 150 million users and over a thousand tweets a second, according to PEW Research only 6% of the adult US population are on twitter. The total usage number is only around 20% of the total figure for Facebook (currently estimated at around 570 – 600 million users, depending on who you believe), so this combination of data suggests that in other parts of the world Twitter is already close to being mainstream, and I believe it will soon catch up.

* Facebook growth will slow.
A point will be reached, probably in the next year, where the growth of facebook – currently estimated at 700,000 new users PER DAY – will slow, as there just aren’t enough people left for that kind of growth to carry on for much longer. Of course, a massive increase in internet access in poorer countries where it is currently limited could delay this.

* Diaspora will be forgotten.
The huge network effect of so many people using Facebook will outweigh the privacy concerns that lead to the development of Diaspora over the summer, and very soon the open-source system will be forgotten, going the same way as Google Wave.

* Facebook places will make Foursquare and Gowalla relegated to irrelevance.
Facebook Places, the social network’s location based service, will be rolled out to users and, through sheer weight of numbers, make existing services, such as Foursquare and Gowalla, irrelevant. The huge size of Facebook will mean they can attract better deals and more development work, thus making it more attractive for people to use their service.

* Social Media Monitoring will be replaced by Social Media Research.
Increasing demand from the C-Suite for confirmation that Social Media demands attention will lead to increased complexity of work required to provide the data required. At the same time, the ever growing numbers using social media in all it’s forms will mean that using social media as a data source for providing the vital insights a business needs will increase in value. Both of these will lead to a growing professionalisation of the monitoring / research role within corporations, and an associated development of specialist companies dedicated to carrying out social media research for their clients.


Alex Shipillo

Alex Shipillo, pictured above before his recent bungee jump from the bridge linking Zambia and Zimbabwe at Victoria Falls, and if you can spot him, doing the bridge swing! Alex stayed with us at Chanters Lodge recently.

Alex Shipillo is a young entrepreneur from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada and is the President of the Impact Entrepreneurship Group, Canada’s largest youth-run entrepreneurship organization. He’s also the Co-Founder of Youth Canada, the most comprehensive online resource for Canadian high school students. In 2009, Alex was named as one of Canada’s Top 20 Under 20 by Youth in Motion. He’s also a recipient of a City of Vancouver Youth Award, Millennium Excellence Award, and the Gold Standard of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.

Alex has worked for 2010 Legacies Now, the Vancouver Board of Trade, and web start-ups TeamPages and Penzu. In addition, Alex spends a lot of his time refereeing high-level soccer. Alex’s interests include youth engagement, current affairs, and mentoring younger students through their own exciting experience Alex is on Twitter @alexshipillo He has a great blog too and was kind enough to write this about us on it:

“When I arrived in Livingstone, I was picked up at the airport by Richard Chanter, the owner and manager of Chanters Lodge. This was another place that I had researched online. Richard was a General Manager of a hotel in Lusaka before moving down to Livingstone in the late 1990s and buying property for a small lodge. At that time, all of the Victoria Falls tourism was on the Zimbabwe side and tourism on the Zambian side was slow. However, in the early 2000s, thanks to Mugabe’s “welcoming” policies, the tourism quickly migrated over to Zambia. Now, at least one new hotel is built on the Zambian side of Victoria Falls every single year! Since that time, Richard has expanded his property to accommodate more guests. Online, he is active on Twitter, and has a 95% excellent rating on TripAdvisor. My expectations were high, but they were certainly exceeded when I got here – I got an excellent room at a great price with spectacular service in Livingstone. Be sure to stay with Richard if you plan on heading down to Livingstone.”

There’s a really good description of his other activities while he was here with us too!

Thanks Alex and thanks for being so brave to do the things you did, and for being kind to Chris!


Adventures With Ben

It’s great to get reservations at Chanters Lodge through social media sites and we were delighted yesterday to get a reservation for June from Ben Reed (above) through Twitter @adventureswben Ben has a really active blog and he says this about himself:

“Greetings to all you adventurers out there! My name is Ben and welcome to adventureswithben.com – my home on the Internet where each week, I’ll share with you some of my most amazing adventures from around the globe and here in my hometown of Orlando, Florida. You might be wondering, “who are you Ben” and “why should I read your site”?

I’m originally from Massachusetts and currently residing in the Sunshine State. Frustrated by sitting at home and always saying, “there’s nothing to do around here”, I charted a course to find adventure in my life and share it with all of you.

I’m 28 and have traveled to 5 of the 7 continents, with a goal of reaching the 6th this year. Before I had ever sat behind the wheel of a car I was piloting aircraft at the age of 16. I’ve descended over a mile underground into a South African Gold Mine and have backpacked throughout Europe.

An award-winning blogger, in 2009 I was selected by the Tourism Authority of Thailand to use social media to promote the City of Pattaya, Thailand as a vacation destination in their Ultimate Thailand Explorers Competition.

Everyday is an adventure – if you want it to be. I do. Here at adventureswithben.com you’ll find a collection of stories from my favorite travel experiences and, more importantly, advice and motivation on how to seek out, and bring adventures into your own life. I love to travel and capture the unique story of each destination and share with the world how wonderful a place it all is.”

Great stuff – can’t wait to meet Ben in person!


Social Media Minus A Budget!

This from Hotels Mobile by Adam Kirby made me really sit up and take notice!

“Just because an individual hotel lacks a big budget for social media does not mean it cannot compete for followers and fans—even in a hyper-competitive market like Las Vegas. The marketing budget for Las Vegas Hilton is miniscule when compared to multi-property powerhouse rivals like MGM Mirage, Harrah’s Entertainment and Wynn Resorts. And despite being relatively late to the social media party, the hotel has picked up enough incremental business from Twitter and Facebook to convince once-skeptical executive management to fund a full-time social media coordinator position.

The Hilton’s first “tweet-up” last year drew 130 participants to the hotel—the vast majority of them as first-time guests. “It caught the attention of our executives—they said, ‘Wow, you did this with nothing?’” says Peter Arceo, executive director of casino marketing. “These have become loyal customers spending money at the bar, talking about the hotel. That was the buy-in [the executive team] needed to fund this.” Monthly tweet-ups keep growing in size.

In less than a year, @LasVegasHilton has accumulated more than 23,000 Twitter followers. While other properties in Vegas complement social media marketing with heavily promoted contests, viral videos and even digital Twitter billboards, the Hilton has no social media budget, so it instead focuses on building personal relationships with brand advocates that extend beyond the computer screen into real life. “We’re trying to build solid, loyal fans and followers—people who want to come here,” Arceo says.

A shoestring budget is no excuse for a hotel not to jump into social media, Arceo says. Very likely, an existing hotel employee would be willing or even eager to champion the property in the social media realm. “Nine times out of 10, I promise you there is someone on property—it could be a housekeeper, your greenskeeper, your valet—they could be your best voice for your property, and they might not even want to be compensated,” Arceo says. “They might just want to be known as the social media voice on your property.”

Why did it make me sit up and take notice?
– It shows that working with Facebook and Twitter can eventually bring you business.
– We’re a small lodge with no budget for things like social media.
– 23,000 followers on Twitter? And I thought we were doing well with 500+!
– I love the idea of “Tweet-Ups” and have a new goal to host the first one in Livingstone!
– I like the idea of one or two of the Chanters Girls being involved in our social media thing!

The picture?
Alice (centre) Acting Head Cook, Shupiwe (left) her number two, and Sandy (right) a trainee, having fun at Chanters Lodge in Livingstone.

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