February 11, 1974
|Notable credit(s)||CNN International's World One, Zain Verjee Group|
Zain Verjee (born February 11, 1974) is journalist who was born and raised in Kenya. Verjee now runs her own Africa focused production company, and is passionate about capturing the new narrative of Africa from authentically African voices. Zain is currently building aKoma, a storytelling and content platform for Africa. aKoma is in a private beta and is looking to launch in 2016. The aKoma team is building a base of content creators at www.akomanet.com. She spent 14 years at CNN as an anchor and correspondent, living in Atlanta, Washington DC and London. Prior to leaving CNN in April 2014, Verjee was the anchor of CNN International's European daytime program "World One". She worked as a newsreader for The Situation Room, as a State Department correspondent, and as a co-anchor of CNN International's Your World Today with Jim Clancy.
She went to Hillcrest Prep School and Hillcrest Secondary School in Nairobi, following the British private school education system. She did three A level subjects, English, History and Economics. Verjee received her undergraduate degree in English from McGill University in Montreal. She is currently enrolled at Oxford University in London and is pursuing her Masters of Studies degree in Creative Writing.
Verjee joined CNN in 2000, prior to which she was a news reader on Kenya Television Network, Nairobi and as a radio DJ for 98.4 Capital FM. She has covered major world events such as the September 11 attacks, the War in Iraq, the War in Afghanistan, the conflict in the Middle East, the trial of former Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milošević, the post-election violence in Kenya in 2008, the Westgate Mall terror Attack in Kenya in 2013. As the State Department Correspondent covering Condoleezza Rice, Verjee travelled the world covering US foreign policy. Among her many trips she covered the historic trip Rice took to Libya, and eventually was a lead reporter covering the fall of Moammar Gadhafi.
She also reported on African feature stories for the weekly program "Inside Africa", which offers an in-depth look into lifestyle on the continent.
Some key people Zain has interviewed includes, Condoleeza Rice, Robin Wright, Laura Bush, Uhuru Kenyatta, Presindent John Dramani Mahama, Kofi Annan, Mahathir Mohamad, Graca Machel, Tony Blair, Cherie Blair, Angelina Jolie, and Lenny Kravitz.
In July 2006, she reported from the Korean DMZ, winning an award for the coverage. In September 2006, she conducted an exclusive interview with former Iranian president Mohammed Khatami on his first visit to Chicago.
In November 2014, Zain announced she was leaving CNN after 14 years to create her own media production company. Zain Verjee Group is based in New York and Nairobi with a focus on African businesses and lifestyle stories.
In February 2015, Zain announced she was creating the storytelling platform, aKoma. In an interview with Radiant Health Magazine, Verjee said "aKoma is all about telling African stories from African perspectives, but also so much more. We want to empower young African people to directly publish and tell their own stories so that it’s authentic. It’s about Africa. It’s about stories by young, cool Africans with ideas and innovations to share with the world.". aKoma provided authentic Kenyan voices and global views on Kenya during President Obama's historic trip to Kenya in July 2015.
Zain is an Ismaili Muslim, a minority group in the Shia Sect of Islam.
When she was 23, Zain published a children’s book, "Live & On the Air”. It explores experiences of a young girl who moves from rural Kenya to Nairobi to work as a broadcaster. She hopes to pursue her writing career and has written a sitcom, a book of poetry, and is working on a detective novel set in Kenya.
In January 2014, Verjee reported that she had struggled with psoriasis since her childhood and though it affected the way she related with others, she won the battle against the disease through eating well and maintaining a good mental attitude.
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