Nigerien student who loves martial arts aims to be messenger for China-Niger cultural exchanges

(People's Daily Online) 13:47, October 24, 2022

Hima Oumarou Souleymane, a Nigerien student with the Chinese name Xi Ma and who has a passion for martial arts and traditional Chinese culture, hopes to become a messenger for China-Niger cultural exchanges.

File photo shows Hima Oumarou Souleymane practicing Chinese martial arts. (Photo courtesy of the interviewee)

Souleymane was enrolled in the Chinese linguistics program at Hebei University in Baoding city, north China's Hebei Province in 2012.

To improve his proficiency in Mandarin, Souleymane learned xiangsheng, also known as crosstalk or comic dialogue, which is a traditional performing art in Chinese comedy. He said learning xiangsheng not only improved his proficiency in spoken Mandarin, but also helped him better understand Chinese history and culture.

Souleymane explained that he began to develop an interest in Chinese culture after watching the movies of Chinese martial arts stars such as Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan and Jet Li.

Souleymane joined his university’s international martial arts team in 2015 to learn martial arts. To master even more skills, he pursued further education at the university as a postgraduate student one year later.

So far, he has gained skills in a broad array of traditional martial arts weapons, including broadswords and monks' canes, as well as many traditional styles such as "Eight Extremes" boxing and martial arts routines.

File photo shows Hima Oumarou Souleymane practicing Chinese martial arts. (Photo courtesy of the interviewee)

While studying in China, Souleymane won a number of awards in various martial arts competitions for foreigners and received written recognition from the Embassy of Niger in China.

While at his home country during vacation, Souleymane joined a local martial arts association. During his wedding ceremony in his motherland, he performed Chinese martial arts and invited local martial arts enthusiasts to perform.

File photo shows Hima Oumarou Souleymane posing for a photo after receiving an award at a martial arts competition for foreigners in China in May 2016. (Photo courtesy of the interviewee)

Souleymane become a Ph.D. candidate in journalism and communications at Hebei University in 2019. He has recently been busy writing his Ph.D. dissertation on Niger's communications. He said he will apply what he learned about communications in China to promote the development of communications in his home country, and hopes that more young people in Niger will learn Chinese language, martial arts and culture.

"I will keep practicing Chinese martial arts, and plan to run a Chinese martial arts center in Niger after graduation. I hope to participate in more cultural exchange activities and become a messenger for China-Niger cultural exchanges," said Souleymane.

(Web editor: Hongyu, Wu Chengliang)


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