I used to follow sports news...
Often you meet people who love to do certain things, but they never imagine those things could be their career. There are also others who match their passion with their studies, see it as an opportunity and make the most of it. Ariane Uwamahoro is 29 years old and a sports journalist on Rwanda television. It was her keen interest in sport that led her to combine her journalism studies with the sports that she liked when she was young. Ni Nyampinga caught up with Ariane to find out more.
NN: How old were you when you started to like sport?
ARIANE: [Laughing] I guess I was six or seven years old. I was born in Mumena, Nyamirambo. There is a football field there, and kids from the area love to play. So I can say that I played football since I was in primary school and continued at secondary school.
NN: Apart from playing football, what else made you love sport?
ARIANE: I used to follow sports news, watch matches or listen to them on the radio. When I was sent somewhere to run errands while I was watching a match I felt unhappy, but it made me do it quickly, and when I came back I always asked for an update on the match.
NN: And then you became a sports journalist!
ARIANE: I studied journalism at university. One day a radio station was launched in Muhanga District where we studied, and I started working there reporting current events. But I always wanted to be a sports journalist. I made a request to our bosses, but they refused and said a girl couldn’t present sports news. The former sports journalist from the radio station believed that I could do it. One day he was sick and couldn’t speak and they asked me to do the show in his place. He prepared the show for me, and I presented it. From that time on, I always presented the sports show.
NN: How did you feel after your first show?
ARIANE: I was very happy. Many people called the radio and appreciated my work! My boss also told me that I did well, and recognised that I was capable of doing it.
NN: Did they keep supporting you?
ARIANE: From that day on, the former sports journalist taught me how they prepare the show, and we started doing it together; everything went well! He also taught me how to commentate a football match, and the more practice I got, the better I became.
NN: What challenges did you meet when you started presenting and commentating football matches?
ARIANE: Even though I followed football news a lot, I didn’t know the names of all the players. One day I was commentating a football match and it was hard so I only said the kit numbers of the players. I felt discouraged, but later my colleague encouraged me, and I got to know the names.
NN: How important was it for you to match what you liked with what you studied?
ARIANE: It made me feel like I was doing what I liked and always strove for. It also made me quite different in my profession, because there were not many girls who did sports shows at that time.This helped me to get a job more easily
NN: What message would you like to share with girls across Rwanda?
ARIANE: The most important thing I can tell you is to focus and give time to the things that you like. When you do what you like, you do it happily and you don’t get discouraged because you are doing the thing that you always strove for.