Like every other Zimbabwean, Given Ngulube loves to call himself by his totem.
He refers to himself endearingly as “uMkhwebu, uJama, uMabuya”, a personification of the wit and sociability of a swine/pig.
His totem is a pig and it is for this reason that he does not eat pork.
A totem is an animal, plant or natural object serving among certain tribal or traditional peoples as the emblem of a clan.
Upholding such high totemic traditions tells that Given is proud of his Ndebele identity, culture and heritage.
As a proud native of Matobo, he says he chose to work in the hills because he adores the area.
“Matobo has a lot of hills and the views from the summit of the hills are breath-taking,” explains Given.
He is a shuttle driver @Matobohillslodge, the man you can count on to pick you up from Bulawayo City or even the airport and take you to Matobo National Park.
Given was born in Matobo, in the Dula area and attended Matopo Mission School, which is in the vicinity of Mzilikazi’s grave.
Mzilikazi Khumalo ( c. 1790 – 9 September 1868) was a king who founded the Matabele Kingdom now known as Matabeleland in Zimbabwe. His name means “the great road”.
Many consider Mzilikazi to be the greatest Southern African military leader after the Zulu king Shaka. In-fact, Mzilikazi was originally a lieutenant of Shaka but had a quarrel with him in 1823 and rebelled. Rather than face ritual execution, he fled northwards with his followers.
King Mzilikazi’s grave is on the site of his former royal town, Mhlahlandleia, according to the ZimFeildGuide.com. The memorial was unveiled by Sir Herbert Stanley, the Governor of Southern Rhodesia, on 17th June 1941.
The Inscription on Mzilikazi’s memorial reads: “Mzilikazi, son of Shobana, the Matabele hail you. The Mountain fell down on 5 September 1868. All nations acclaim the son of Shobana. Bayete.”
The memorial was built beneath the tree where Mzilikazi held court, met many of the early European travellers to this country and conducted the affairs of state. However, the Indaba tree died because people used to strip off its bark, which they believed had curative powers.
Given opines that Mzilikazi’s final resting place in the Matobo Hills is special, particularly to the Ndebele because “it’s important for people to know where their ancestors lie.”
For Given, it’s imperative for the local community to visit the memorial so that they appreciate the culture of their ancestors.
He adds that, “When travellers visit Matobo, they want to appreciate history of the Ndebele people, that’s where their legacy lives.”
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Kudzai is a (class 1) Chef at Matobo Hills Lodge. This man has a King Midas’ Touch that sees him turn any simple ingredients into a finger-licking cuisine. He studied Professional Cookery at the Bulawayo Polytechnic College before coming to work as a Chef at the Lodge in 2016. Kudzai says cooking, an activity which delightfully engages all 5 of his senses, is one of his biggest passions. The process of making a meal teaches him to be mindful and strive for mastery. In addition, it gives him the platform to get those creative juices flowing and tinker with ingredients.
Kudzai also says that it is always important for him to remember that cooking changes just as customer’s taste in food changes. Therefore, this calls on him to keep abreast with those changing preferences and adjust his recipes accordingly so that his meals continue to appeal to our valued guests.
Like the other staff members, Kudzai enjoys being at the Lodge for long periods of time and working in an environment that is far away from distracting noise. Having been on some activities our guests can enjoy while visiting us, Kudzai says he enjoyed rhino tracking because of the adrenaline rush one gets from finding a rhino’s fresh footprints and tracking it on foot.
Kudzai hopes to see more visitors coming to the Lodge so he can give them a taste of his cooking. He also assures prospective guests that the relaxing surrounding will boost their energy and have them ready to conquer the world by the time they leave.
Read more about our staff here – Meet the Team
When you call Matobo Hills Lodge for bookings or any other enquiries, you can be sure to talk to this cheerful woman with a boisterous voice.
Bertha Mbao is originally from Zambia and has been residing in Zimbabwe for the past 15 years.
She has been working in the Sales Department at Matobo Hills Lodge for the past 2 years. She’s one of the two ladies working in that department where her main responsibilities include booking guests.
Bertha studied Hotel and Catering with the London Institute of Commercial Management. She also has plans to finish her studies towards a Bachelor’s Degree in Law.
What Bertha Says About Her Job At Matobo Hills Lodge
Her job involves constant interaction with people through various mediums of communication. Bertha says a strategy that helps her successfully sell Matobo Hills Lodge’s services to customers is to first understand their needs. Once she does that, she helps the client see how the Lodge is best geared to satisfy them. And this, she does splendidly.
Bertha also believes people ought to take some time away from technology and visit Matobo Hills Lodge. She says this will help them unwind and reconnect with loved ones or do some introspection. She adds that Matobo Hills Lodge is a perfect spot for corporate meetings and team building events away from the distraction of the busy-ness of everyday life.
When she is not working, Bertha spends time at home with her husband and children. She enjoys watching movies, reading, and travelling. She has been to South Africa and Botswana and hopes to travel some more.
If you would like to know more about the Matobo Hills Lodge team, click here –
When you are ready to book your stay at Matobo Hills Lodge or simply have any inquiries, you can be sure Blessing will be on the other line ready to assist you. She is one of the two ladies working in the Booking and Reservations Department.
Blessing joined Matobo Hills Lodge last year in May.
A hardworking goal-getter, Blessing holds a Certificate in Travel and Tourism. In addition, she holds a Diploma in Tourism and Business Studies. Blessing also intends to study for her Degree in Business Management.
Blessing’s best part about working at Matobo Hills Lodge?
Well, Blessing says the best part about working at the Lodge is the opportunities to learn new things. She also enjoys talking to the different people who never cease to make her job even more interesting.
Talking to different people is not without its own challenges, this Blessing understands. Hence, she takes care to understand each client and their needs and know how best to handle them. Blessing knows that being able to do this will ensure that her interactions with the clients run as smoothly as is possible.
Blessing also enjoys going to the Lodge and being able to join guests on their activities which are always eye-opening.
Like many other staff members, Blessing has taken part in the fun activities that await guests who visit us. Unsurprisingly, she says she also enjoyed Rhino tracking.
When she is not working, she spends quality time with her partner and friends. If she is not doing that, Blessing also enjoys treating herself to a good romcom.
Blessing hopes to see many people coming to the Lodge because there is so much to enjoy and learn about at Matobo Hills.
If you would like to know more about our team, click here –
Blessing is a “Confident, Mature and Disciplined young man.” says Operations Manager Mr Grey Nyama
Having joined Matobos Hills Lodge on the 19th of February 2018, he first started on attachment from his hotel school.
His strong work ethic created an impression on his bosses and soon he was promoted to Trainee Restaurant Manager, a position he has occupied since the 1st of May.
Now in his third year of studying towards a Diploma in Tourism and Hospitality Management, Blessing plans to finish his studies next year.
As someone who proudly values his job at the Lodge, Blessing intends to finish his studies on a Block Release Program because it is important to him that he is available “as and when” needed to carry out his duties at the Lodge.
Before joining Matobo Hills Lodge, Blessing worked as a waiter at Debonairs Pizza in Johannesburg, South Africa. He worked there for a year and had hoped to raise enough money for him to pay for his tuition at The Global Institute of Hospitality and Tourism located in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.
Blessing says it was important for him to figure out various ways to earn an income and that is why he
decided to travel to South Africa and look for work.
Even though transitioning was hard at first, Blessing learnt to adapt and eventually found his firm footing at Matobo Hills Lodge, a place he now describes as “home.”
When it comes to his job, an easy-going Blessing says he enjoys talking to clients.
Interacting with guests is crucial to him because guests who feel welcome and comfortable are happy.
Happy clients are more likely to visit the lodge again, keeping him busy. Blessing says the worst days are the few days when there are no clients to interact with in the lodge.
Blessing believes people should come and experience the beauty of Matobos Hills Lodge because the place is naturally tranquil and allows one to connect to our magnificent Zimbabwean Mother nature.