By Jin Zheng,
Christine Lagat NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Raphael Tuju
carries himself with elegance and his imposing persona,
eloquence and intellect has earned him one of the most coveted
seats in Kenya’s body politic.
The Secretary General of the ruling
Jubilee Party whose headquarters is located in downtown
Nairobi, has an expansive office that is tastefully
furnished and has interior decor that is eye-catching to
An ever busy senior Jubilee party
official and minister without portfolio, Tuju is taking
time to learn new phrase in mandarin with a Chinese
“Mandarin is spoken by more than 1.3
billion people in the world and I think it is a very
important language to me as we build our
relationship with China,” Tuju told Xinhua.
The middle-aged father of three and a
former television producer became an elected
representative in 2002 and has since served in different
Kenyan administrations as a minister for tourism,
information and foreign affairs.
Prior to enrolling for a Chinese
language course in the early days of July this year,
Tuju had made frequent official visits to China in his
capacity as a cabinet minister and senior official of
the ruling party.
(Xinhua) -- Xu Jing teaching Raphael Tuju in
Nairobi. Xu Jing, who teaches at the University of
Nairobi’s Confucius Institute, is the Chinese teacher of
Raphael Tuju, the Secretary General of the ruling
Jubilee Party of Kenya. Xu’s steely guidance is expected
to boost Tuju’s proficiency in mandarin as he occupies a
vantage position to deepen China-Kenya economic,
political and cultural ties.
XINHUA PHOTO: LI YAN
Securing an accomplished Chinese tutor
to guide him through the basics of spoken and written mandarin
was an honor to a man who has developed a strong attachment to
the culture, political and economic system of the Asian giant.
“Well, I am a social scientist and it
is very important to break the barriers in communication by
learning other people’s languages. The Chinese is one of the
most ancient civilizations and it is a pity we have not
prioritized the language and am impressing my children to learn
it,” said Tuju.
He had woken up at dawn last Friday to
spend an hour on a homework given earlier by the Chinese tutor,
Xu Jing, who teaches at the University of Nairobi’s Confucius
“Have you done your homework?” Xu
asked Tuju. “Yes, I did some but was very busy last week because
of the upcoming trip to China,” he responded and later
pronounced Chinese numbers with ease.
Tuju accompanies President Uhuru
Kenyatta during his trip to China to attend the Forum on China
Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) summit held in Beijing on Sept. 3-4.
“When I go to China in the next few
days, I would like to learn more Chinese,” said Tuju adding that
he is determined to overcome initial setbacks and improve his
proficiency in spoken mandarin.
As a senior official from the ruling
Jubilee party that has forged a working relationship with the
Communist Party of China (CPC), Tuju is convinced that fluency
in mandarin is key to promote Sino-Kenya ties in all spheres.
In fact, he has been spending a
two-hour session with the Chinese tutor on Tuesdays and Fridays
since July 3rd to learn characters, numbers and
pronunciation of key words like greetings.
“What is most difficult for me besides
characters is that I do not have many Chinese friends to talk
to. Writing is also difficult but I want to keep on pressing,”
“Luckily, I have a very good teacher
who is also tough, she gives me a lot of homework and if I do
not do it, am in big trouble,” Tuju told Xinhua with a light
touch adding that his regular meetings with CPC officials has
triggered a desire to learn the Chinese language and communicate
effectively with them.
Despite being a senior cabinet member
who is busy with domestic political affairs, Tuju still creates
time to attend Chinese language lessons either at home or at the
He expressed confidence that he would
be able to master the spoken Chinese language within one year.
Tuju’s enthusiasm to improve his
proficiency in mandarin while defying age and hectic schedule
has impressed Xu Jing who revealed he is now able to introduce
himself in fluent Chinese.
“He is really interested in learning
the Chinese language. He is very busy but trying his best to
understand the language,” said Xu.
“One day he was sick and sent a
message requesting to rest but he later called me to teach him
at his home,” She added.
Xu’s steely guidance is expected to
boost Tuju’s proficiency in mandarin as he occupies a vantage
position to deepen China-Kenya economic, political and cultural