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

    US Leaders Who Served in Vietnam War Look Back and Ahead

    In New York Times opinion piece, Secretary of State John Kerry, Senator John McCain and former Senator Bob Kerrey say as US strengthens relations with Vietnam, it is important to remember lessons learned from war

    Who Are US Allies in Fight Against Islamic State?

    There is little but opportunism keeping coalition together analysts warn — SDFs Arab militias are not united even among themselves, frequently squabble and don’t share Kurds' vision for post-Assad Syria

    Learning Foreign Language Helps US Soldiers Bridge Culture Gap

    Effective interaction with local populations part of everyday curriculum at Monterey, California, Defense Language Institute

    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.

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora