WOW WOW WOW!!!!
We are so beside ourselves and overflowing with love, pride and joy for Aggie’s INCREDIBLE We Are Africa SHAPE AFRICA AWARD! You are our Queen, Aggie!
Aggie says, “I grew up in a small village in Chipata! May this award be an example to inspire all young girls and women around the world. If I can win an award of this magnitude, you can do it too. May everyone especially women be a force and voice in African travel!”
Thank you to the incredible stars at We Are Africa and congrats to the amazing nominees in this category and all the winners today! What a beautiful initiative and honour for our Aggie Maseko Banda and Royal Chundu!
The SHAPE AFRICA award spotlights African travel’s true trailblazers and rewards and recognises the people whose tireless passion and dedication to our industry have transformed the continent for the better.
There’s Something About Aggie
Born in the small village of Njilamanda in the Chipata district, Zambia, Aggie grew up with eight siblings, her mother a housewife and her father a general worker in the government forestry department.
She started her career in a variety of fields including time working with the Zambian government. She left Zambia and joined her husband in South Africa where she experienced her first taste of the tourism and hospitality industry.
But her life changed when she took on a job at Royal Chundu. In 2012, Aggie and her husband, Chef Kaphaizi Banda started a new life at Royal Chundu, on the banks of the Zambezi River in Zambia. Aggie’s passion for Zambia was instantly given an outlet at Royal Chundu and her love of showing real Africa off to international guests was born.
Here she has forged her career in travel, managing and growing the lodge and creating a variety of entrepreneurial projects including a transfer business. Aggie quickly moved from Island Lodge Supervisor to Royal Chundu Lodge Manager, with profit partnership in the lodge. Recently she co-founded the Zambezi Joy Society, to provide numerous opportunities to local Zambian makers.
Through the lodge, Aggie has worked tirelessly and passionately to give local people an opportunity to shine and profit from tourism themselves. Aggie is the one of the first faces that our guests see at the lodge and is always one they remember, with her proud iconic Zambian Chitenge dresses and welcoming smile, always ready to embrace guests as family and welcome them home to the Zambezi.
“Having grown up in a small rural village in Zambia, I’ve been so blessed with the opportunity to not only reach my full potential and follow my passions in life, but to help others around me, in our talented, beautiful and hard-working country, to do the same – on a scale that empowers individuals to support themselves and families while feeling fulfilled and happy. This has been vital for me!” Says Aggie.
“Being able to create opportunities for our little universe here – whether it be female gardeners in the village or local female seamstresses and mural artists, carvers, weavers and traditional Zambezi fishermen, or young school children, the community of tomorrow! Witnessing the changes in the communities on our Zambezi riverbank, next to Royal Chundu, through the empowerment opportunities we’ve created through the Lodge, it’s clear just how much more good work we can do on the ground!”
Since June 2012, Aggie has helped to craft the most authentic Zambian experience possible at Royal Chundu, uniting and empowering local people through different initiatives and catapulting the unique character of Zambia across the waters, with her understanding of Zambian culture and pride as a Zambian woman.
She has facilitated getting a local female artist to adorn the lodge walls in murals of Zambian life, facilitated projects with neighbouring communities (seed projects, donations, women’s craft centre), overseen the lodge school for local children, brought in Zambian Chitenge seamstresses to dress guests and the lodge, connected with local carpenters, fishermen, farmers and producers to supply the lodge with sustainable goods that feed money back into the immediate community. She runs the lodge and boosts the team with such high standards that the lodge maintains its Relais & Châteaux status and numerous awards, letting this model of Zambian hospitality be showcased worldwide.
Believing there is no need for things to be colonial when welcoming overseas guests, Aggie has helped build Royal Chundu as a genuine 100% African offering, inspiring local people to be proud of being Zambian. This has been greatly received by guests who are after something genuine that empowers everyone involved (a growing trend in travel).
Aggie has helped create a model where the community run, provide for and benefit from the lodge, with 99% Zambian people employed. Aggie helps give Zambian people a chance to tell their own stories, through Royal Chundu, proudly publicising that there is not one story of Africa, but many, many, many.
We are forever proud of you, Aggie, and honoured to be by your side!