Feature: Young Tanzanian student embraces Chinese culture, dreaming of cultural ambassador role

(Xinhua) 13:17, October 12, 2023

Sharon Emmanuel Munisi, a student at the University of Dar es Salaam, dances during the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival celebrations in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, Sept. 29, 2023. (Photo by Herman Emmanuel/Xinhua)

DAR ES SALAAM, Oct. 11 (Xinhua) -- A 21-year-old female student majoring in political science and public administration at Tanzania's leading University of Dar es Salaam has been featured in several Chinese events where she is invited to perform Chinese cultural shows.

"Chinese culture is in my blood. I love it, and I will continue to cherish it," said Sharon Emmanuel Munisi, a first-year student at the university, during an interview with Xinhua at the Confucius Institute at the University of Dar es Salaam, where she is learning the Chinese language.

"My journey to loving Chinese culture started with watching Chinese movies when I was in ordinary and advanced secondary schools between 2016 and 2022," Sharon explained with a broad smile. She added that she was particularly captivated by Chinese martial arts, especially Chinese kung fu.

Fortunately, Sharon, who resides with her parents in Tegeta, a suburb of the port city of Dar es Salaam, found her way to the Confucius Institute in 2022 when a lecturer introduced her to the institute as the perfect place for learning the Chinese language and culture.

"I joined the Confucius Institute without hesitation, knowing it would be my gateway to understanding Chinese culture," said Sharon. In addition to language, she was also immersing herself in Chinese culture, including singing, dancing, calligraphy, paper cutting and watching Chinese movies. She also dedicated herself to kung fu training, realizing that it would help improve her health.

"I was initially quite weak and lacked strength, but through Chinese kung fu, I have become much stronger," she said.

Sharon's interest in Chinese dances blossomed while preparing for the "Chinese Bridge" language contest, following her teacher Li Qianqian's advice, who provided her with Chinese dancing tutorials. "But when I started dancing, it was very difficult and I was about to give up but she encouraged me and as days went on I just became very good at Chinese dancing. I am not that good, but I am proud of myself," she said.

Two days before the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival celebrations at the end of September, the Confucius Institute invited her to perform a dance before a large audience of overseas Chinese in Tanzania inside a massive dome in Dar es Salaam.

"I performed that dance with a Chinese colleague named Su Wei, who gave me a positive reaction, and the audience's response was equally positive. It was a unique experience for me," she recalled.

In September, she traveled to China to observe the "Chinese Bridge" language contest after securing the second position in the competition at the Confucius Institute at the University of Dar es Salaam. During her one-week stay in China, she visited such cities as Beijing, Guilin and Guangzhou.

"I found China to be a great and beautiful country. I was especially fascinated by the abundant mountains and water everywhere I went. I never expected to see so many trees in Beijing, but they were scattered everywhere, along with beautiful flower gardens," Sharon said.

She was amazed by China's significant advancements in technology, towering buildings, top-notch infrastructure, and delectable local cuisine.

Sharon admitted that her one-week trip in China significantly improved her spoken Chinese language skills, and she found the Chinese people to be hardworking, disciplined and punctual.

The cultural exchange between China and Tanzania has been fruitful, particularly in terms of the scholarships provided by China. According to Sharon, these scholarships are instrumental in helping Tanzanian students contribute to their country's economic development upon their return.

When asked about her future plans, Sharon left no room for doubt: "My dream is to become a Tanzanian-Chinese diplomat who will strengthen the relationship between the two friendly countries."

Sharon Emmanuel Munisi, a student at the University of Dar es Salaam, gestures in an interview with Xinhua in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, Oct. 10, 2023. (Photo by Herman Emmanuel/Xinhua)

(Web editor: Zhang Kaiwei, Wu Chaolan)


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