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

For Lebanon-based Refugees, Desperation Fuels Perilous Passage

In a war that has caused an estimated three million people to flee Syria, efforts to make perilous sea journey in search of asylum expected to increase More

South African Brewer Tackles Climate Change

Mega-brewer SAB Miller sent delegates to climate summit in Peru, says it is one of many private companies taking their own steps to fight climate change More

Indonesia Reports Increase in Citizens Joining Islamic State

Officials say more than 350 of its citizens are now in Syria or Iraq to fight with Islamic State - 50 more than last month 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.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid