Youla Nzale: Business Owned By Citizen TV Sign Language Interpreter, Her Career Journey 

Youla Nzale: Business Owned By Citizen TV Sign Language Interpreter, Her Career Journey 
Youla Nzale Photocredit/Courtesy

By Prudence Minayo

Youla Nzale is a sign language interpreter who has became a household name courtesy of  her job at Citizen TV. She grabbed the attention of Kenyans in 2019 when retired president Uhuru Kenyatta was giving a speech at the devolution conference in Kirinyaga.

Most people turned their attention to her as she passionately interpreted the speech to the deaf.

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Here is her career journey and side hustle as told by WoK.

Developing interest in sign language

She developed an interest in sign language due to her neighbour’s daughter who had a hearing impairment. The girl had been isolated and Youla learned signing from her.

“I developed the desire to learn proper sign language as a young girl. Our neighbours’ daughter in Mombasa was deaf. She has no one to play and interact with. I started spending time and playing with her since she has no friends,” she said in a 2019 interview. 

She fell in love with sign language and wanted to learn in order to use her skills in church.  had never imagined that she would pursue it professionally.

To build her sign language skills, she pursued a certificate course at the University of Nairobi.

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Apart from interpreting at Citizen TV, she worked as a sign language interpreter at the Kenya Institute of Management, head office where she would interpret lectures for the deaf students at the institution.

She also worked as a saleslady at Gilead Enterprise and later as an administrative assistant at GEDICOM Limited. 

Fashion Design 

Away from signing, Youla made a career out of designing and opened a store called Rafiki Vaa.

She got her design skills from watching numerous videos on YouTube. Rafiki Vaa opened their first physical location at Jericho market along Jogoo road.

She designs wedding dresses and ceremonial dresses with some clients making orders from referrals or after seeing the designs on social media.

Making a simple wedding dress takes her about a month and she sells it for more than Sh50,000.

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