By Prudence Minayo
Salim Swaleh was a Swahili news anchor who worked at the Nation Media Group owned NTV until his appointment as the ICT, e-Government, and public communication Chief Officer in the Nakuru County Government. His steady rise to the top is as a result of determination, perseverance and a lot of hard work.
Here is the story of one of the best Swahili news anchors in Kenya.
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Background and Education
The news anchor was born in Bondeni area, Nakuru county. His late father and mother were from Bondeni and Gilgil respectively. His father had three wives and his mother bore him two children, Salim and his sister.
The journalist attended Bondeni Primary School up to class four but was unable to continue with his education due to financial constraints. He then went to live with his grandmother in Gilgil where he learnt to make and sell a number of dishes including Samosas. Later, he moved in with his mother and step father and was enrolled in Nakuru Primary School. Owing to his age and statue, he went directly to Grade 7 rather than beginning with grade 4. Upon completing his KCPE, he scored 365 marks and was admitted at Menengai High School.
He was a disciplined student whose leadership qualities led to his appointment as a deputy head boy while he was in Form three. He was also an ardent participant in extra curricular activities thriving in drama and music festivals. He loved public speaking and went up to the national levels thanks to his skills. One problem he faced was Mathematics, he even scored a 0% once while in Form 3. The dream to become a journalist was intensified when he got the opportunity to work with KBC eLearning while still at Menengai.
Salim scored C plus in his Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education. While waiting for admission to college, he worked as an untrained primary school teacher in Eldoret.
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He studied Mass Communication at a college in Nakuru. He enrolled for a degree in the same field while he was working in Iran.
Upon completing college, he worked at Ghetto radio without pay before getting his first job as a journalist in Nakuru. He worked for a radio station known as Sauti ya Mwananchi where he earned Ksh8,000 monthly. While at the station, together with his colleague, he got the chance to travel to Iran where he continued pursuing a career in Media.
Life in Iran
He began learning Persian as it is the major language used in the country. He got the chance to polish his skills as a media journalist and even enrolled for a degree in the country.
He loved the country, its customs and life was good except for a few instances where he experienced racism. When his first born child started school, he realized it was time to come home.
Back To Kenya
Upon returning to Kenya, he secured a job with Citizen TV in 2016. He read the 7PM Nipashe Jumapili news which was previously read by Kanze Dena and Lulu Hassan. He did an amazing job and resigned after two years to join NTV. Rumors surrounded his resignation with some alleging he had been fired for receiving a bribe. He rubbished the claims and went on to become an editor and news anchor for the NTV 7pm Swahili news.
The ex-NTV anchor is married to Sherry and the couple is blessed with three children. He married Sherry while working for Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB). He said marrying an Iranian woman was not an option since their dowry was paid in gold and their culture could hardly allow a black man to marry an Iranian woman. He visited Kenya and married Sherry and the two lived together in Iran. Two of their children were born there before they decided to come back to Kenya.
The journalist was named as ICT, e-Government, and public communication Chief Officer. His name was among those forwarded to the county assembly for vetting and approval.