News / Africa

More Africans Are Settling in China

An African student (C) practices moves as other Shaolin martial arts students look on during the inauguration ceremony of a martial arts training program for African students, at the Shaolin Temple in Dengfeng, Henan province, China, Sept. 25, 2013.
An African student (C) practices moves as other Shaolin martial arts students look on during the inauguration ceremony of a martial arts training program for African students, at the Shaolin Temple in Dengfeng, Henan province, China, Sept. 25, 2013.
VOA News

Growing relations between Africa and China have led to an influx of Chinese migrants in Africa and a growing number of Africans moving to China. Africans come to China not as desperate refugees, but out of choice, and more plan on staying. One of those who has made a home there is Cameroonian Francis Tchiégué, who came to China 10 years ago.

"You know when you have something that you really love, you do not do that for money. But you really like it, then you can happen to really get deep inside. It is personal. It is like love," said Tchiégué.

Tchiégué sits in a fast-food restaurant in the center of Beijing, brimming with enthusiasm.

"I was really fascinated by all this. You know, for a little kid, five, six years old, when you could see guys flying, kicking, jumping through buildings, high buildings, doing all the things," he said.

Childhood fascination

Tchiégué recounted that he became interested in China as a child in Cameroon. With his father, he used to watch movies starring Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan. His father practiced the Chinese martial art of Kung Fu, and Francis started dreaming of going to China.

"I wish I would go to China to see how those people live. I am sure that all Chinese people will do practice Kung Fu," he said. "All of them can jump, all of them can do these things that Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee do, those. So I was thinking, 'Well, I am dreaming to go and try and study this."'

Decades later, he is in China, and has become a master, but not of Kung Fu.

Tchiégué, now 39 years old, became a master of Mandarin. He frequently sings Beijing Opera or performs tongue twisters on Chinese state TV.  

In 2009, the Chinese government named him special ambassador for the Sino-African exchange in arts. If he is not traveling around the globe with the Chinese language institute, Hanban, he works as a translator for African embassies in Beijing.

When he came to China 10 years ago as a math student on a Chinese government scholarship, he did not speak a word of Mandarin. He learned by recording himself and memorizing Chinese radio newscasts by heart.

His enthusiasm for the language and the country has convinced him to stay. Today, he lives with his Russian wife and three kids in Beijing.

Growing trend

Tchiégué is emblematic of the current wave of Africans moving to China. Most Africans used to return home after their studies or doing business in China, now a growing number of them want to stay.

Academics say Africans find life easier in China than the first wave, which struggled with discrimination and a foreign culture they found hard to adopt.

Stella Matsinhe, from Mozambique, came to China to study development at Tsinghua University in Beijing. She has graduated and goes to language school to perfect her Mandarin. She wants to find a top-job in China and believes the odds are good.

"You know there is a lot of brain drain, right, and we were always told that we should never forget where we come from, right," she said. "Our parents, our teachers, our leaders, they always told us. It is something you hear from a very small age in a lot of African countries, 'Do not forget where you come from."'

But Matsinhe is concerned. She said she has heard stories of people like herself who were educated at universities abroad, but upon returning to Africa found themselves stuck and isolated because colleagues without the same opportunities did not want them to succeed.

Matsinhe said she likes China and she feels it is a place where she can develop her full potential.

"Ideally, I have always wanted to stay in Africa. That is where I have always wanted to settle. But if that is not possible right now, China is looking like a really good option," she said.

At a time when opportunities for a better life still seem to loom abroad, many Africans find China has become a new ground to fulfill their dreams.

 

 

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: GRACE from: IL
August 05, 2014 1:50 PM
It seems so good for Africa ! American government invest in Africa for 14 billions, and China teach Africa people their Ancestral Art ! The United State want Africa become the master of world, I suppose ? In their country a man can have five, even ten wifes, it makes you want to get a "Africa dream" ?

by: riano baggy from: ina
July 30, 2014 3:40 AM
yes, Confucius say: In four seas we are brothers. New friends came form others countries it is enjoyable?.
In Response

by: Nawahs from: Small town, USA
August 01, 2014 6:32 AM
Martial Arts is a journey that requires constant mental discipline, on, but more importantly off of the mat. Looking at the new members( to the right) leaning against the wall, cross-legged, looking around, not paying attention, hands (foolishly) behind their backs, not in any aware state of posture. Much to unlearn.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs