I met with the towering Silalei Owour at BAQE Africa Offices in Nairobi to catch up with the sassy TV host who has been making ripples across the media and basketball scene across Africa. She won numerous awards in during her active career as a basketball player and was recently named as one of the top ten Kenyan women setting trends in their respective fields, by a leading East African magazine, True Love. Here is what she had to say.
BAQE is African basketball (BAQE is the premier African Basketball Magazine TV show screened every Thursday 8:30pm on Zuku Sports channel 300 & 301). The fastest growing sport on the continent, popular amongst urban, connected and aspirant youth. It is, a Zuku Production, is a weekly magazine show now in its fourth season, that provides a window into one of the most exciting demographics on the continent. BAQE connects Africa. As Silalei, former Kenya women’s team captain and host of BAQE, puts it:
“We are all connected by the love of the game and the culture that surrounds it.”
Mark Maina (MK): Describe yourself in just 5 words.
Silalei Owour (SO): Introvert, silly, loyal, foodie and passionate.
MK:Interesting, so who exactly is Silalei?
SO:I am a jack of many trades…uhm… I am a sister, a daughter. I am a wife, a HR manager, a captain of a basketball team, a TV host. So I’m all of those things and probably a little bit more.
MK:Did you just say you are married?
SO:Yeah, I got married August 18th 2012.
MK:Who is the lucky guy?
SO:One Mr. Kabaka Owour.
MK:Could You tell us more about Mr. Kabaka?
SO:I’d rather not. He likes his privacy and I respect that.
MK:How is marriage life like?
SO:Its hard but its good. The best things in life are surely the hardest, you have to work the hardest at, but I really enjoy being married.
MK:How did you end up in BAQE ?
SO:The TV show?
MK:Yes the TV show
SO:Through a friend of mine, Abel Nson, who knew me at the time. According to him he thought I would be perfect for the show so I went for the screen test, met DNG there and we nailed it!
MK:So what do you love most about being the BAQE host?
SO:I love how it gives me an opportunity to travel to different countries across Africa and meet lots of people who are passionate about basketball. The reception from viewers is also amazing!
MK:What’s the toughest shoot you’ve ever had?
SO:I remember there was a time we had a shoot in the middle of the street in Uganda. I had to be able to memorize my lines and make sure I deliver very well despite having Boda Bodas zooming a foot away from me while onlookers were crowding in. There were lots of other distractions. Yeah that was the toughest shoot.
MK:What don’t you like most about your BAQE co-host DNG?
SO:I dont know, he spices up shoots because he is so radical. In fact the best moments we have on set are when the cameras are not rolling. Since we are not memorizing any lines then, we just talk about stuff, stupid topics, ratchet things and for me those are the moments I really enjoy with DNG.
The only thing I would probably complain about DNG I think is that he is high maintenance.
MK:Now onto basketball, you used to play for Kenya’s National Women basketball team,what happened?
SO:Actually, I was the captain of the team and I played for three years. I quit because I was frustrated by the blatant mismanagement of the team and corruption. It was no longer enjoyable for me to play the sport so I figured I could as well as use my time to do other things, like watching “Orange is The New Black”.
MK:Do you still play?
SO:Yeah I do. I started playing again this year with a new team that I helped formed with some friends of mine. Its a team that is keen on developing basketball as it brings in girls who have just finished college. The veterans in our team coach the young girls.
MK:You are stunning beautiful, what is the secret?
SO:I think I just have good genetics. My parents look fabulous and they are over 60 years old and people often confuse my mom for my sister.
MK:If you were to insure one part of your body, which one would it be?
SO:Because they are nice, long and hard to find
MK:Which awards have you bagged so far?
SO:(I’m still waiting for Silalei’s response on this)
MK:What drives you?
SO:What drives me is to make a difference in the short period time I’m alive so that people know that I was there. You know. Leave a legacy. Ohh and good breakfast!
SO:In whatever you do either in the word or deed, do it all to the glory of Christ. Basically, in whatever you do, do it the very best you can.
MK:Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
SO:In five years I’d like to be a mom, I wouldn’t want to be playing basketball but I would like to be well know in my field of work. I would also like to expand my career in media since that seems to be what’s working right now even though I am a HR professional.
MK:What don’t most people know about you?
SO:I’m a horrible liar. I am very easy going. However a lot of people think I’m proud, they are scared of talking to me, it could be because of my green eye contact lenses.
MK:How is your typical weekend like?
SO:My weekend ..uhm..basketball practice on Friday night, sometimes on Saturday I go cycling with my husband, we then go for a game if I have one or go to the movies. Generally pretty chilled.
MK:What’s your advice to young ladies especially in sports?
SO:I always tell young people this, sports is not the end. Use sports as a platform to excel in life.
For instance I went to a very good college and have this job thanks to sports yet I’m not playing in an international league. If you are extremely talented then yes, you can end up having a professional career in sports. However it is a very small percentage of people that end up playing sports professionally.
MK:Do you have an initiative that seeks to help young women especially in basketball?
SO:The end of last year or beginning of this year, I co-founded the Mabinti Foundation, which basically teach young girls life skills and provide them with mentors, just to create well-rounded ladies who can change the world.
MK:Lastly, what would you like to tell your fans?
SO:Keep the fire burning in whatever you do and I will do the same
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