AuthorLeontine van Hooft

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Let me tell you a story about the Griot and the Rapper

Everywhere in the world, you find oral culture, and specifically, oral storytelling getting lost. But with changing of times, shifting populations and the rise of digital entertainment: Who will continue to weave these stories around the fireside, and who will be there to listen? And if there are willing listeners, how are they to be reached?

Perspective written by: Leontine van Hooft

It is very well likely that our ancestors gathered around the evening fires and expressed their fears, their beliefs, and their heroism through oral narratives. Community storytelling offered the security of explanation; how life and its many forms began and why things happen in the way they do, as well as entertainment and enchantment. Storytelling brings communities together. This long tradition of storytelling, an important form of art, is still evident in ancient cultures for example on the African continent. Not only for Africa, but this golden rule applies to every culture and can be found in lots of examples.

In the Middle Ages storytellers, also called a troubadour, minstrel or bard,  could be seen in the marketplaces and were honored as members of royal courts. Medieval storytellers were expected to know all the current tales to repeat all the noteworthy theses from the universities, to be well informed on court scandal, to know the healing power of herbs and simples (medicines), to be able to compose verses to a lord or lady at a moment’s notice, and to play on at least two of the instruments then in favor at court. But the times are changing…

Turbulent modern times & the search for identity

A culture is like a river, always floating and on the run, like a movement. Only the forms differ during the ages and generations. And so does the meaning of things. This is what storytelling, and art in common, reminds of.  It’s like an ongoing process and reflects the constant search for identity. That is why in Africa, like in other agrarian societies, the traditional moonlight storytelling culture has not disappeared but will continue to reach new forms of expression and be changing on the river of time.

“It has been said that next to hunger and thirst, our most basic human need is for storytelling.”

– Khalil Gibran

It looks like that for the West it’s difficult to accept modern times, within these upcoming markets. In thinking and speaking about Africa’s spirit the West keeps repeating the same old ideas and prejudices, while the continent is constantly evolving and developing itself rapidly. Most Western people still look at Africa with an exotic look full of regret and pity. The idea that you have to go back in time to find the true African culture and identity is nonsense and is stopping developments.

Africa needs great modern storytellers to change the hardwearing image (how)

A Griot is an important medium in this case. Through storytelling and music, the Griot has shared and maintained the identities and histories of communities in West Africa for centuries. A Griot is a poet, singer, historian, musician, comedian, an entertainer and much more. There has been a lot of international studies regarding Griot culture having provided the African and African Diaspora with a way to reach back and carry forward their ancestral heritage. Therefore, it is essential that the memories and personal histories of people are being preserved. At this moment it is still possible. When the elders have died, a library dies with them, is an African saying. But are oral traditions associated with rural life really at risk of being lost to the past?

It is not a battle between tradition versus modernity

The obvious ways to translate the storytelling culture for consumption by a modern audience would be the approach of the West: simply recording and writing it down for the archive. But that would lose the fluid spontaneity which distinguishes oral culture. Because if you remove the performative element and the potential for interaction with both the surroundings and audience, then the magic and meaning of storytelling will vanish.

Where once the Griot had to travel by foot for many miles to share the stories of his king or community, now ICT enables local stories to be shared with the world online. The revolution unchained by mobile phone home-grown broadcasting is near.

Mass media, modern storytellers

Mass media can be seen as a cultural storyteller. It has a diversity of ways to reach big groups of people. One of the medium to reach the younger generation is through gaming. When world-class game makers cooperate with great storytellers ànd elders, games can be created with an interesting cultural touch. A great example is the wonderful game ‘Never Alone’,  which proves that heritage and modern technology can go hand in hand. Rather than written stories and archive filing, the possibilities of ICT enables storytellers to create, share and celebrate new and old stories.

Another ubiquitous example of these modern griots’ can be found in contemporary rap music such as DJ Lee of Griot B & School Yard Rap He tells and sings about the great history and misconceptions about Africa. These modern Griots serve as the ‘camera of today’s society’ and are important for identity development. Focusing on personal experiences, local issues and the struggles and successes of daily life and combining prepared verse with improvised commentary, the links between rap and griot styles are abundant.

Another way of oral-literary processing is by means of performance art. In Africa theatre matters. African theatre is entertainment, but it can also be aesthetically, politically, socially and spiritually committed, and often it is all these things simultaneously. It draws on indigenous performance traditions including dance, music, storytelling, and mime. At its best African theatre is a total experience, of mind, body, and soul which engages with, and feeds off a highly responsive, involved and vocal audience also a  kind of humorous performance. For example storyteller Diana Ferlatte.

Movies and films, such as Nollywood productions,  an audiovisual symphony with many layers and a great narrative wealth can be brought to the audience.  Africa’s spirituality allows a much richer layered reality because of the long and diverse traditions.

Floating between history,  reality and future aspirations the Griot’s values get a modern opportunity to create new meaning and spirituality and reach the younger generations. The interest in storytelling is unlikely to go away and, hopefully, griot traditions will be able to survive, prosper and inspire alongside new modes of storytelling, and with a little innovation and imagination, new traditions will be born.

Perspective written by: Leontine van Hooft

A GreenDream’s perspective: will the robot serve your breakfast?

The NHTV, with 50 years of experience in leisure and tourism and being recognised as the third World Leisure Centre of Excellence by the World Leisure Organization has got something to celebrateAnd they shared the new trends with the Industry.

NHTV is one of the educational institutes we work with on Future trends in tourism and leisure according to NHTVseveral international projects and with consultancy assignments within the industry. Students know how to find us. Our GreenDreamAcademy has NHTV represented within the board. Cooperation works from both ways, sometimes we give guest lecturers or we support as industry examiner. A win-win, so reasons enough to celebrate and feel happy together.

Are you ready for the future?

This was the question of the keynote speaker of the industry Day: Richard van Hooijdonk, trend watcher and futurist. He offered us an inspiring lecture on how technology impacts the way we live, work and do business. His statement, and I think he is right, is that everything is connected to the internet of things. With the question: ‘’are you ready for the future?” he showed the audience what we should keep in mind, concerning our future.

Within ten years we will have technology implemented within our body: opening your door and starting your car. Keys will disappear. We will have printed medicine and brain chips that control the memory.

Within the leisure sector he predicts a lot of robot technology taking over jobs. This is how it will look like in the future.

Imagine a human lookalike robot at your dinner table

No waitress, but a robot asking: ’How do you prefer your steak madam?’

Or: ‘You appreciated the Merlot last time sir, do you like it again?’ Or a warm smiling beautiful robot at the reception desk, welcoming you at your check in, making a photo of your eye: the key to your room.

It is not a game over, but IT will definitely change the game forever. It will create new business models. Traditional jobs will disappear but new ones based on technology will enter the sector. Wow, the keynote speaker was left without questions from the audience. But you could hear the industry thinking….

Other insights, new games

Besides the keynote speaker, NHTV offered the industry several signature lectures this afternoon, all inspired by technology. Here are some quotes to give you an impression of the future of leisure and tourism:

‘We are on the way to an economy of models’.
‘Imagine, with virtual reality you can go on holiday 20 times before booking via ‘.
‘With one million bookings a year, Airbnb is, with no real estate, bigger then Hilton’
‘Small is the new big: start ups do outsourcing, so cooperate within partnerships’
‘Start-ups, also within leisure, will change the world’
‘Change is the constant factor’


The wakeup call: The future has started

What I have realised in the last years is that the sector indeed is looking too much inside its own compact world instead of ahead.  They are too busy with running their daily business. When the weather is good, open the terrace and put the chairs outside. If not, wait for the sun. But we must prepare for the future!

I like the idea of trend watching. As a trend watcher for business development and as developer of curriculum. Would that make us less surprised about the success of business concepts like Airbnb?

Bleep, here’s your breakfast Madame

I do not know what to think of a robot serving my breakfast. It feels strange. And within our inclusive approach we want to create real jobs for real people.  But I do know that we should have an open mind about how to shape the future of leisure and tourism industry. We are open for new and good value driven ideas and projects that will make our work better and the impact of our work bigger.

A GreenDream’s perspective: the impact of going wild!

Safari Park Beekse Bergen in The Netherlands reaches the next level in creating experiences, by introducing The Safari Resort,  that is clear. With 239 lodges, safari tents and tree houses planned, the experience you get being a guest comes as close to a real African safari experience as you might expect, from a safari park situated in The Netherlands. A great possibility for those who cannot explore a real safari in Africa. A wake up call between elephants and lions is quite an experience. Also for the animals, by the way!

Safari resort experience

Libéma, owner of the Beekse Bergen announced that the expansion of the Safari park will generate at least 400 new jobs, mainly for animal care and green maintenance, but also for cleaning and catering. And that is great news for lots of local people. However, Safari Park Beekse Bergen is not the only park that contributes to social economic development.

Efteling, the most famous Dutch theme park, once started as an upgrading initiative of the mayor’s wife, from a simple playground nearby a café, to creating social economic development. She noticed lots of unemployed men and wanted to offer them something to do, but also an opportunity for a better future for their families. Nowadays Efteling is a big catalyst for socio-economic development. Even on a winter day, six hundred to seven hundred people are needed to manor the attractions and restaurants.

The importance of fun, funny business

And this goes much further than creating direct jobs. A complete industry of supporting ventures, creative industry and education programs have been developed because of this kind of leisure initiatives.

Travelling around Europa Park in Germany you can see a complete visible and lively industry in housing, hotels, Air B&B’s, etc. in all the neighbouring villages. Lots of people earn an income because of the crazy initiative of a German family, who started Europa Park, to create a demonstration showcase for their fabrication of rollercoaster’s. Imagine…!

That brought us the crazy idea….

What if, we as GreenDreamCompany, with our experience on inclusive and sustainable leisure concepts, our passion for new and upcoming markets, with our knowledge of sustainability, heritage, and storytelling and our knowledge of the African culture, would develop a huge leisure concept, meant for rural development?

On one hand it would bring extraordinary experiences and cultural knowledge to the international guests and to local and regional visitors. On the other hand it would be an impressive catalyst for social economic development. Leisure parks do have a proven track record. Implementing it on the African continent, would generate thousands of jobs….

Solomon's Hidden Treasures brandSolomon’s Hidden Treasures®

Solomon’s Hidden Treasures® is a new and multi value driven brand, developed by GreenDreamCompany, especially focussed on the African continent.  Aiming to create inspirational, economical, ecological and social value. A brand that will bring meaningful experiences to all involved.  Situated nearby capital, national parks and lakes, the brand brings African legends and amazing stories alive in a modern and trilling way. The brand contains Cultural, Natural en Nautical Experience Parks. The launch will be in Rwanda. Yes. Rwanda: The country of thousand hills and millions of smiles. Others to follow….

The mayor’s wife was not that crazy….!

Do you want to follow or journey or want to share your experience? We would love to hear from you! Or are you inspired to contribute by investing in impact? Contact Ubuntu Impact Investments  to hear about the possibilities. Are you a philanthropist, an Africa lover or interested in developments in the leisure and tourism industry? You are all invited to be part of this interesting and extraordinary journey. Follow our company on our website and to follow every step of our brand you can visit Solomon’s Hidden Treasures.

News update GreenDreamCompany Summer 2016

It has been a while since you have heard from us. But we have been busy! We feel like we are playing chess on 5 boards simultaneously.

With this news update we would like to catch up with you.

In this update we like to share information on:

  • Our latest projects in Rwanda, under the brand Solomon’s Hidden Treasures
  • Our investment company Ubuntu Impact Investments
  • Our Academy for vocational training GreenDreamAcademy
  • Vacancies

World Class Leisure & Hospitality

GreenDreamCompany works as an incubator for the development of the leisure & hospitality industry in upcoming African countries.

We execute a breakthrough brand role out: “Solomon’s Hidden Treasures”.

The Brand of Family Villages and Cultural Experience Parks (theme-parks) will be launched in Rwanda and Ethiopia with plans for growth into 14 East African countries.

GreenDreamCompany takes care of concept- and project development, marketing & communication, sales & merchandizing and organizes the operation by franchising.

Impact entrepreneurship
We aim to develop world class tourism destinations in emerging markets in Africa. Our goal is to create a new economic heart in a region; one of the most effective ways to reduce poverty. This means creating local impact, employment, partnering with schools and universities and contributing to better supply-chains. And life changing experiences for our guests.

Introducing Solomon’s Hidden Treasures Rwanda: Family holiday villages and cultural theme park

GreenDreamCompany introduces the world to a magnificent legend about magic, adventure and romance:

Solomon’s Hidden Treasures

Logo Solomon's Hidden Treasures

King Solomon travelled all over Africa and beyond: to form political alliances, marry foreign princesses and visit his goldmines… or so the story goes. It is said that stories give us all a better understanding of the world.
Today, GreenDreamCompany puts a spotlight on the African destinations in the stories of King Solomon by introducing a unique combined formula of leisure and hospitality in those locations.

We proudly present you: Solomon’s Hidden Treasures Rwanda.

Follow our brand’s journey here.

Introducing Ubuntu Impact investments

GreenDreamCompany also performs the management of Ubuntu Impact Investments: the investment company which invests in the growth of Solomon’s Hidden Treasures.

Ubuntu Impact Investment company




More information about Ubuntu Impact Investments can be found here.

Introducing GreenDreamAcademyVocational training for leisure and hospitality

Logo GreenDreamAcademy

GreenDreamAcademy develops and implements vocational trainning as a supercharger for tourism destination development and is set up to support Solomons Hidden Treasures.

Participating in our DreamTeam?
Wish to make your Green Dreams come true?

We believe GreenDreamCompany and our brand Solomon’s Hidden Treasures  deserve the best quality and creativity there is! Therefore we work with the best experts and expert companies.

Do you think your expertise could make us even more complete? Become part of our team.

Want to cooperate as a company or organisation? Become a partner.


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Own website for GreenDreamFoundation

Own website for GreenDreamFoundation

logo GreenDreamFoundation

GreenDreamFoundation is a non-profit organization committed to solve 21st century challenges in upcoming markets by acting as catalyst for measurable economic and social outcomes.

In the past, items of GreenDreamFoundation were mentioned on the GreenDreamCompany website, but because of steps in professionalism of the Foundation and her board, she has chosen for her own website:

Both entities have chosen the tourism sector as elevator towards reaching our goal and focus on tourism area destination development, the transformation of rural areas into sustainable eco-tourist destinations in the broadest sense. Community building is at the heart of our foundation and lab development is what we do by functioning as an incubator of new ideas which can develop from labs into independently operating organizations.

“We commend the G20 world leaders for recognizing the importance of Travel & Tourism as a driver of economic growth and job creation for the first time and stand ready to support all efforts by the G20 countries in this respect. This is a significant success for the industry and could not have happened without the support of President Calderon, a leader who truly understands the social-economic value of tourism and its potential to create new jobs in such difficult economic times, and without the commitment of Secretary Gloria Guevara, who so successfully chaired the T20 (Tourism Ministers of G20 countries) last month.” UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai and WTTC President & CEO, David Scowsill in reaction to the declaration of the G20, 2012.

GreenDreamFoundation was formally designated by the Dutch Tax Administration as ANBI (Public Benefit Organization) on January 1, 2008.

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