As the friendly relations between China and
Uganda are consolidated and deepened, the two countries will have
more cooperation in fields of people-to-people exchanges, sports and
tourism, he said.
Ayoub Tewele, a third-year student at University
of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, is among a growing number of young
Tanzanians and Africans who turn to learning Kung Fu (Chinese
martial arts) and Mandarin with gusto amid blossoming ties between
Africa and China.
Tewele started his lessons in Kung Fu and Chinese language six
months ago, driven by a desire to keep physically fit, improve his
understanding of China’s rich culture, and realize his dream to
Tewele told Xinhua that practicing Kung Fu and Mandarin has been
physically and intellectually rewarding.
Tewele went to last year’s global Chinese Language Bridge
Competition held in Shanghai after winning second place in his
country’s national Chinese language proficiency contest.
Also, Tewele and his peers love the China Culture Center
established in 2015 at the University of Dar es Salaam, saying the
center has fostered cultural exchanges between Chinese nationals and
Over the past two and a half years, the center hosted more than
100 events to promote interactions between locals and Chinese
nationals, including the latest events earlier this month, ranging
from martial arts, Mandarin classes to demonstrations on preparing
During the latest events, Huang Meishan, a Chinese teacher, and
her colleague He Lei demonstrated to Tanzanian students how to
prepare Chinese Kung Fu tea.
Suleiman Abdallah and his colleague Saidi Saleh were among the
They appreciated Kung Fu tea’s aroma, taste and medicinal
The two young Tanzanians recently toured China for two weeks,
where they learned about China’s abundant culture and economic
In Kenya, the Chinese language and culture are also popular with
Mwika Kiarie, an anthropology major who is studying Chinese
language at the University of Nairobi’s Confucius Institute, said he
wanted to become "a bridge" for bustling China-Kenya exchanges in
the near future.
"I look forward to becoming a bridge between Chinese and Kenyan
business people though performing tasks like translation, logistics
and even humanitarian affairs," Kiarie told Xinhua.
Xiao Shan, Chinese director of the Confucius Institute at the
University of Nairobi, said young Kenyans’ enthusiasm for mastering
the Chinese language and culture is unmatched in the region.
She said that the Chinese language has become an effective means
of fostering a healthy friendship between Kenyans and Chinese
nationals living in the country.
The Confucius Institute at one of Kenya’s oldest universities has
enrolled over 5,000 students, with its activities reaching about
10,000 locals, and it is planning to introduce Chinese language
classes on satellite campuses, she added.
Franklin Asira, chairman of the Sino-African Cultural Exchange
Association that was launched in Nairobi in late March, said that
people-to-people interactions have become the defining feature of
In Uganda, the China-Africa Friendship Association was launched
in the capital Kampala five years ago, as China has left a strong
footprint in Uganda through trade and infrastructure development and
bilateral cultural exchanges have become more frequent.
Chinese firms like StarTimes have rallied behind this
cross-cultural exchange by supporting the production of a Kung Fu
movie for local audiences in Uganda.
Simon Ivan Kakembo, an employee of Hisense Uganda, said that his
Chinese colleagues have fallen in love with local culture and often
attend weddings of their Ugandan co-workers and friends.
Early this year, Uganda’s oldest and most prestigious Makerere
University announced that it would start offering a bachelor’s
degree in Chinese and Asian studies.
China-Africa friendship and exchanges have moved beyond
traditional areas like trade, infrastructure development and skills
transfer to sports, tourism, medicine, technical management and
African countries like Kenya has intensified its efforts to
attract Chinese tourists through digital marketing and recruitment
of staff who are fluent in Mandarin at major attractions, like
Kenyan Cabinet Secretary for Tourism and Wildlife Najib Balala
told Xinhua that the government is targeting 100,000 Chinese
tourists in the next one or two years, up from 69,000 people who
visited the country in 2017.
Chinese and Kenyan athletes have been on the frontline to promote
friendship through joint training.
Zhang Xinyan, a Chinese female middle-distance runner from Gansu
province, and her five colleagues from Yunnan province in late April
joined their Kenyan counterparts for a month-long training at the
"home of champions" located in Eldoret town.
Chinese artists hosted an exhibition in Nairobi University in
April to present their charming paintings and drawings. Kiprop
Lagat, director of culture in Kenya’s ministry of sports, culture
and the arts, said all genres of art, including music, dance,
painting and carvings, have cemented bonds of friendship between the
Chinese and African peoples.
Chinese doctors surely have set a precedent in promoting
friendship with African people through the provision of free medical
services in the continent’s remote areas that were heavily affected
by infectious diseases.
The latest development could be seen at the China-Congo
Friendship Hospital located in the mineral-rich Republic of Congo,
where local people suffering from cataracts regained their eyesight
after successful operations by Chinese surgeons.
"I want to express my thanks to the Chinese doctors and they are
truly professional," said 65-year-old Balossa Yvonne, whose eyesight
recovered after the surgery.
Zhang Weipeng, an optician at the China-funded hospital, said it
is aiming to offer a new lease on life to local cataract patients.
The Sino-African Joint Research Center, based at Jomo Kenyatta
(SAJOREC) University of Agriculture and Technology outside the
Kenyan capital of Nairobi, shows thriving ties between China and its
The Chinese Academy of Sciences has equipped SAJOREC to enhance
its capacity to implement joint research projects. Since its
establishment in 2013, the center has launched 45 joint research
programs focusing on biodiversity, pathogenic microorganism
detection, remote sensing, crop cultivation, and land and water
It also has helped train about 160 scientists and senior
technicians from 13 African countries.
In Kenya, the operation of the the Nairobi-Mombasa Standard Gauge
Railway (SGR) commuter service, which was launched on May 31 last
year along the 480 km China-funded modern railway linking Nairobi to
the port city of Mombasa, is also continuing to boost the friendly
cooperation and exchanges between China and Kenya.
Felix Asuma, a 27-year-old workshop supervisor at the SGR, felt
honored to be among young Kenyans whose expertise has been harnessed
to operate the SGR train service since its launch.
"My experience since I joined the SGR commuter service last year
has been good. It is built on advanced Chinese technology that I am
familiar with and having been mentored by Chinese engineers, I am
convinced I have gained enough skills to handle its operation and
maintenance," Asuma told Xinhua on Friday.
Harrison Kimani, who joined the SGR in February 2017 as an
assistant manager in charge of passenger service, said that working
alongside his Chinese colleagues has been professionally rewarding.
Kennedy Chemeitoi, a general affairs clerk at the SGR, said he
has learned a lot since he joined the company.
"My Chinese mentor has taught me a lot," he said.
"The Chinese are very responsible. They want to make sure you
have mastered the expertise."