Zarinah Tlale, an epitome of beauty, well mannered and a self-assured, very successful business princess. These are the simple words one might use to describe Zarinah. In an exclusive interview with Willy Mutenza, she pours out her heart out to the world:
How would you want to be described?
Z: I feel I have just been born and am starting to crawl, so I have a long way before I can determine what legacy people should me remember me for… but for now “Zarilicious” would be perfectly acceptable! Am I being silly? (she giggles).
Briefly please give us an update on your bio in Uganda?
Z: A mixed-race descendant of Indian, Toro, Burundi and Somalia ancestors, born in Jinja, a town in Uganda. I am the second born sister in a family of five sisters and one brother. Sadly we have another brother who died.
You gained popularity on the Ugandan entertainment scene, but in fact you are a very successful Ugandan based in South Africa. How did you manage to base yourself way down there?
Z: I previously lived in Wood Green, North London but it was too slow for me and in 1999 I decided to return to Uganda. A few months later I visited an aunt of mine in South Africa… and the rest is history.
Why and how did you start Brooklyn City College?
Z: I soon recognised a shortage of skills training, and decided to step up to the game. It took astute determination and dedication and since then I have never looked back.
What is your philosophy of life?
Z: As a go-getter, my motto is: “Don’t wait for things to happen in your life. Make them happen!” I am a jet-setter and a go-getter no matter what appears to stand in my way.
What has been your greatest achievement?
Z: There are two parts to this question. It may surprise you to know I consider my greatest achievement to be that my business has extended to six branches in different provinces of South Africa, and I am a mother to three boys!
When did you start singing and what inspired you sing?
Z: Music is one of my passions! I am inspired by the likes of Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey… oh, lest I forget all the glamour that comes with the industry in performing, hahahaha…
Do you have any plan for a new album in 2011?
Z: I always have plans, but my entrepreneur side takes such a toll on my life that I don’t get to record as much as I would like to, but I do have new tracks coming up.
Where should we expect to see you in the next 5 years or so?
Z: In the next five years I want to have my own label-line of cosmetics, handbags, clothes, shoes and most important of all my own perfume! That is where I wanna be! (lol). Am I dreaming? Nah, I am not. It all began with a dream and I am still working on it!
How do you give back to society?
Z: I am involved in charity projects in Uganda and my church here in South Africa. I have been awarded 50 bursaries to Buganda Kingdom which will enable the disadvantaged free access to basic education.
What is the most absurd news or rumour you’ve heard about yourself in the media?
Z: OMG! Some tabloid claimed I had 5 kids! One they allege was with the President’s right hand man, and the other with some general! I have never dated guys in that line up, let alone have babies with them! The truth? I am a mother of three and they all have the same dad.
Can you tell our readers something we don’t know yet about yourself?
Z: Am so paranoid and such a perfectionist but try to be cool at the same time, but am I?
The Spice Girls, who were mocked to be non-starter during their initial time of their career, surprisingly ended up becoming the greatest and most successful female band of our time. What message do you send to those who undermine others talents?
Z: Before you undermine someone else’s talents, what are you doing with yourself in the first place? At least that someone is getting up off their butt and trying to do something with their lives. So give people a chance!
What advice would you give to those hard-working aspirant women who would want to achieve your business success?
Z: Stay focused! It’s all about knowing what you want, how you want it and when you want it? Prioritise!
How would you describe a romantic man?
Z: Are there any real romantic men at all? I’m not so sure about that. I’m such a goofy kind of girl…
Do you think money buys happiness?
Z: No, not at all but it buys you all the material things except happiness, unfortunately.
Your final words to your fans?
Z: The happiest people don’t have the best of everything. They make the best of everything they have – so live your life, have a goal and live your dreams!
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