Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Youla Nzale: Citizen TV sign language interpreter who’s also a fashion designer

Youla Nzale is arguably Kenya’s most famous and beloved sign language interpreter. She works for Royal Media Services’ Citizen TV.

Mrs. Nzale has won the hearts of many Kenyans with her on-screen sign language interpretations in the Citizen TV Prime Time News, at the bottom right-hand corner.

Her career has flourished in ways that she’d never imagined, moving Kenyans without having to utter a word. According to Youla Nzale, she has always had a passion for pursuing sign language from a young age.

She turned her passion into a career when she pursued a certificate program at the University of Nairobi.

However, in her childhood days, she used her sign language knowledge to communicate with her neighbor’s daughter with hearing impairment and to interpret her local church sermons. Her heart was set on helping the isolated feel embraced.

“I developed the desire to learn proper sign language as a young girl,” she said.

“Our neighbor’s daughter in Mombasa was deaf. She had no one to play and interact with. I started spending time and playing with her since she had no friends,” Youla recalled.

Little did she know that her heart of gold would land her in the country’s most-highly esteemed newsroom.

She popped into the limelight in 2019 at the Devolution Conference at Kirinyaga.

Her amicable face was a hard miss when President Uhuru Kenyatta gave a heartfelt speech. She decoded and knitted the sign language in a gladdening way, moving the crowd and those watching her on TV.

“Sign language is nearly a simulation of when you are trying to make a child know or learn something new,” she said.

“You make sure they understand well.”

READ: Citizen TV reshuffles anchors, TV programs in new structure

When Youla Nzale isn’t in the newsroom, she is out working on her side hustle. She has honed her skills in fashion design through Youtube tutorials and web queries.

She is the founder of Rafiki Vaa, her own cloth-making and fashion store that she’s marketed on her various social media handles. She launched her business venture in 2018.

Most of her clients, make orders from referrals while a good number seek to buy from the posts on Rafiki Vaa Facebook and Instagram pages.

Rafiki Vaa has a physical store at Jericho market along Jogoo road.

Rafiki Vaa designs wedding gowns and outfits for events and ceremonies. Her clothes are deluxely handmade, attracting a prolific number of zeros to the total price of a single piece of cloth.

In a previous interview, she stated that a wedding gown would sell for Sh. 35,000 while others can go for Sh. 60,000. Factors considered for the price weight are design and client.

Youla Nzale dresses herself, public figures and top celebrities. Rafiki Vaa also makes dresses and men’s suits.

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