Afua Serwaa Judith Owusu-Afriyie Opens Up

The German-born Ghanaian model opens up to VBM about her culture, her fasion career and the sport she loves

Afua Serwaa Judith Owusu-Afriyie

1. Tell us about your name.
First it’s Ghanaian, where my family is from. Afua (E-fia) is for all females born on Friday in Ashanti tribe. Serwaa was given to me in honor of my late grandmother, who was a Queen. Judith is a Hebrew name that my father picked to have a western name. The last two names are just combinations of two last names. Almost every name that is given to somebody there describes the persons’ position in the family and their community.

That’s not fitting well on a Jersey.
Not at all.

2. What made you first want to play volleyball?
That is a great question. We had this store where all local Africans came to shop authentic African food and cosmetic. I met a friend of my mom who played second division volleyball. That was in 1995...i fell in love with volleyball then...it was just such a smooth sport to me.

Where was that?
I started playing in a little village of about 3000 people in SW Germany, called Sitterswald.

3. How long have you been modeling?
Wow, this is a while. I started in Germany at the age of 14 and had my first magazine cover with 16. I stopped modeling in 2001 and started again 3 years ago. That was one of the best decisions I ever made. However I must say, 2009 and this year have been the most successful for me.

4. What are your thoughts about the sport here in the us and internationally?
I think volleyball is more supported here in the U.S. I wish they had the same after school programs in general for children in Germany. Internationally, I see that volleyball is well represented in the Olympics. The Cuban, Brazilian and the Italian teams are always quiet out there. I had the chance to play with some of the Ghanaian national volleyball team, when I ran into some of the team members at Labadi Beach in Accra, last time I went home to Ghana. It was quite nice...just thinking about it brings a smile to my face.

I’m glad I never gave up playing, because volleyball bridged language barriers and made some new friends with common interest in the “New World”. Sports is a universal language.

Originally published in January 2011

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