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

    Water Scarcity Could Push Conflict, Migration by 2050

    Warning comes in a new report from the World Bank titled "High and Dry: Climate Change, Water and the Economy"

    What Your First Name Says About Who You Support for President

    Bobby, Betty and Curtis tend to support Donald Trump while people named Juan, Liz or Mohammad are more likely to lean toward Hillary Clinton

    South Pole Diary: In Round-the-clock Darkness, Radiant Moon Shines Like the Sun

    You hear more and see more when the moon first comes out; it’s your senses in overdrive, tuning into a new world.

    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.
    Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroadi
    X
    May 02, 2016 1:36 PM
    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With the conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, between the rebel PKK and the Turkish state, many Kurds are trying to escape the turmoil by focusing on the success of their football team Amedspor in Diyarbakir. The club is increasingly becoming a symbol for Kurds, not only in Diyarbakir but beyond. Dorian Jones reports from southeast Turkey.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora