Breaking News

In Zimbabwe, learning Chinese is a lucrative investment

by Tonderayi Mukeredzi
27 February 2013 | 4565 Views

Ni hao, Chinese for "hello," or ting bu dong, meaning "I hear you, but I don't understand," are two expressions one often overhears today in Zimbabwe's capital. It is one of the results of tenacious efforts by governments, private companies and individuals across Africa, but in Zimbabwe particularly, to learn the Chinese language and understand China's culture.

Learning Chinese as a second or third language has been a global trend in the last few years. In Africa, the rapid increase of Chinese investments and trade (China is currently the continent's biggest trading partner) has spurred the trend.

Zimbabwe's government has been very deliberate in enhancing its bilateral relationship with China. It launched the Look East Policyin 2003to give priority to investors from China, Japan, Singapore and other countries from that region.As a result, trade between China and Zimbabwe has been growing exponentially - China is now the biggest buyer of Zimbabwe's tobacco.

Although learning Chinese dates back to Zimbabwe's liberation struggle in the late 1960s and 1970s when freedom fighters went to China for military training, the trend has now accelerated significantly, and for different reasons.

Confucius Institute

To spread the Chinese language and culture, the government of China is utilizing a concept called Confucianism. Confucius was a great Chinese philosopher and educator born in 551 BC. The Chinese believe that his thoughts have tremendously influenced Chinese culture and even had an impact other cultures. Chinese people refer to Confucius as "a greater teacher."
Zimbabwe leads the rest of the continent in the training of local teachers of Chinese, having integrated the Confucius Institute into the University of Zimbabwe's academic structures in 2007, as part of an expanding network of about 400 Confucius Institutes worldwide. The programme has largely been successful, and the university is poised to export surplus teachers of Chinese to other countries as well.

Professor Pedzisai Mashiri, the inaugural director of the Confucius Institute at the University of Zimbabwe, says that one of the institute's goals is to promote the Chinese language and culture in Zimbabwe.

Because the government is yet to integrate Chinese into the national curriculum for primary and secondary schools, schools that host Confucius classes offer the Chinese language as an extra-curricular activity. More than a thousand students have received such language training through the institute since 2009. A few others are completing studies in China and will join the university soon.

A skill that pays

Observers say there has been a rising demand from organizations and individuals seeking to learn Chinese. Clarence Makoni, the founder of the Cendel Language Bridge, a private company that provides translations, interpretation and foreign language instruction, told Africa Renewal that there are huge benefits in learning foreign languages. Chinese, he says, is by far the most sought after.

"If you look at the rate at which the Chinese are coming into this country," says Mr. Makoni, "you do not need to be a prophet to tell who is going to be the most significant employer in a few years to come. . . . All the people we train are snapped up by companies as soon as they finish their courses, and they are paid very handsomely."

He adds that the ability to speak another major language besides English is a great selling point in the marketplace. A Chinese-speaking interpreter can rake in a monthly salary of Z$5,000, while a bilingual secretary with the same capabilities can claim up to Z$3,000 ' earnings deemed at the top range in Zimbabwe.

Laston Mukaro, a language consultant and lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe's linguistics department, says that although his job grading has not yet changed, he is now earning much more after learning Chinese.

"It makes sense to learn Chinese now other than for the reason necessitated by the government's Look East Policy," he says. "Chinese is one of the United Nation's official languages and if you look at the way China is expanding into the world, you can do better if you speak their language."

Mr. Mukaro also earns a lot of money from exchange programmes between China and Zimbabwe. In addition, he frequently consults for the local Confucius Institute. Other benefits include his current work on a handbook for translating between Chinese and Shona, one of Zimbabwe's main indigenous languages. "For those who travel to and do business with China a lot, and are privileged to tap its diverse tourism, then learning Chinese is practically obligatory and has immense benefits," he says with enthusiasm.

More expansion ahead

Professor Mashiri says there are plans to open at least five more Chinese teaching points in other parts of the country, and to construct a Confucius Institute building at the University of Zimbabwe. The Chinese Embassy in Zimbabwe has also promised to build a cultural centre to strengthen cultural cooperation between the two countries.




The world is now a global village, requiring people to understand each other's culture and languages, says Levi Nyagura, the University of Zimbabwe's vice-chancellor. "We want to see Zimbabwean students get jobs in China. We will continue to work hard to institutionalize the Chinese language, as we have done with the other major world languages."

There are also suggestions for introducing Chinese into the national curriculum. "The net effect," argues Professor Mashiri, "is to have the teaching and learning of Chinese cascade from university to secondary and primary schools."


Zimbabwe Chinese


Disclaimer:
All articles and letters published on Bulawayo24 have been independently written by members of Bulawayo24's community. The views of users published on Bulawayo24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Bulawayo24. Bulawayo24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.

Source: Africa Renewal www.un.org

Comments

News Updates

Email:

Latest News

Freedom of Worship is being abused

by John Sigauke | 27 November 2014 | 178 Views

MDC-T South Africa dismisses Ncube - Biti Union - The MDC T South Afri...

by Dr. Wangu Mazodze - MDC T South Africa Spokesperson | 27 November 2014 | 642 Views

EU should engage government for sustainable relationship - The Europe...

by Caitlin Kamba | 27 November 2014 | 250 Views

Anti-Mugabe placards inside Zimbabwe Parliament - SIX youths were yest...

by Staff reporter | 27 November 2014 | 3205 Views

If I were Morgan ..... - If there is anything we should learn from th...

by Vince Musewe | 27 November 2014 | 1623 Views

Mutsvangwa has found the right platform to launch his salvos and attac...

by Maggie Mzumara | 27 November 2014 | 1515 Views

Zanu-PF faction leaders living in fear as siege mood grips the party -...

by Staff reporter | 27 November 2014 | 1896 Views

Kids expose mom's illicit affairs while dad was in prison - An ex-conv...

by Court Reporter | 27 November 2014 | 3077 Views

Hooker steals client's cellphone and cash - A 26-year-old hooker who a...

by Fungai Jachi | 27 November 2014 | 1556 Views

Toyboy accused of using muthi on girlfriend - 51-year-old Minah Mbanjw...

by Staff reporter | 27 November 2014 | 2226 Views

Biti apologises to 'sellout' Ncube

by Staff reporter | 27 November 2014 | 1766 Views

Steward Bank launches 'branchless' banking

by New Ziana | 27 November 2014 | 1176 Views

Chiyangwa behind Shamu, Nguni ouster

by Staff reporter | 27 November 2014 | 2189 Views

Sikhala arrested over Mugabe assassination plot

by Staff reporter | 27 November 2014 | 4482 Views

Couple reconciles in court

by Lethokuhle Moyo | 27 November 2014 | 1862 Views

Mugabe chides Sikhosana for losing his Central Committee bid

by Staff reporter | 27 November 2014 | 3399 Views

Zimbabwe soldier shoots self

by Auxilia Katongomara | 27 November 2014 | 2209 Views

Ex-Bosso star assaults man with a bottle - FORMER Highlanders star Mbu...

by Staff reporter | 27 November 2014 | 1236 Views

Gumbo mourns 'vultures' who took over Zanu PF when he too was one of t...

by Wilbert Mukori | 27 November 2014 | 1800 Views

Zanu-PF Politburo endorses Mujuru's ouster - THE ZANU-PF Politburo yes...

by Staff reporter | 27 November 2014 | 3245 Views

Nicholas Goche seriously ill, admitted in ICU at Harare hospital

by Tendai Mugabe | 27 November 2014 | 3890 Views

'Mujuru-Makoni fatal accident not covered up,' says police - Police ha...

by Staff reporter | 27 November 2014 | 2448 Views

Strangers in Parliament flushed out - Four unidentified youths yesterd...

by Staff reporter | 27 November 2014 | 1912 Views

Zapu moot joining grand coalition - The Dumiso Dabengwa Zapu said it i...

by Staff reporter | 27 November 2014 | 1539 Views

Central committee to bolster Mugabe power - The Zanu-PF Central Commit...

by Staff reporter | 27 November 2014 | 896 Views

Gumbo pours his heart out - Following his ouster as Zanu-PF spokespers...

by Staff reporter | 27 November 2014 | 2000 Views

Zanu-PF burning ahead of congress - The movers and shakers in Zanu-PF'...

by Staff reporter | 27 November 2014 | 1087 Views

Tollgates for rural roads? - THE cash-strapped Zimbabwe government wi...

by Staff reporter | 27 November 2014 | 1025 Views

Entertainment

Ivy Kombo-Kasi graduates with a Masters degree in International Commercial Law

by Jonathan Mbiriyamveka | 26 November 2014 | 3204 Views

Zimbabwean gospel musician goes live in South Africa on Saturday 29 No...

by Staff reporter | 26 November 2014 | 1517 Views

Re-brand ZBC

by Staff reporter | 25 November 2014 | 2023 Views

Express Links Money Transfer and Kenya Airways to Sponsor ZIMAA UK 201...

by Masimba Makasi | 25 November 2014 | 1706 Views

Namibian woman dances to Shona song - Video - ...

by Staff Reporter | 25 November 2014 | 4014 Views

Generations returns

by Staff reporter | 25 November 2014 | 3645 Views

'You lazy African intellectual scum' set for film adaptation - An e...

by Ceci Mercy | 25 November 2014 | 2095 Views
iBlog

Positions To Make Female Orgasm Easier During Intercourse

some women are fortunate enough to be able to climax easily, and in almost any sexual position. the majority of women though, sometimes find it difficult to orgasm especially when they are with a partner. sometimes this difficulty is just a result ... Read More
adoniadennis 12 May 2014 ago

Obviously, Windows Xp Has Nothing More To Offer

With no support from the manufacturer, windows xp no longer receives antivirus updates, which provoked an increase in the number of attacks on xp users. according to avast company, windows xp systems are attacked 6 times more often than the devices r... Read More
Sergey 12 June 2014 ago