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A Zimbabwean teacher's passion for Chinese language brings opportunities

China Daily | Updated: 2020-10-24 09:20

HARARE-Chinese has been called the language of "extreme" obscurity. The idea of learning the language for many seems alien. But for Herbert Mushangwe, whose Chinese name is Li Kaiming, learning Chinese is an investment for the future.

Mushangwe, a professor at the University of Zimbabwe Confucius Institute (UZCI), is the first Zimbabwean to obtain a doctoral degree in the Chinese language.

He said his passion for Chinese came from both "positive and negative factors". The communication challenges he faced during his early days in China, and the fear of going back without solid language skills prompted him to roll up his sleeves.

He first made up his mind to study the language after learning of China's exponential economic growth over the past three decades.

By immersing himself in a Chinese environment and befriending as many Chinese friends as possible, he quickly mastered the language.

After acquiring his master's degree in Chinese Linguistics and Applied Linguistics at Tianjin Normal University in northern China, Mushangwe came back to Zimbabwe and became the first-ever local Chinese language lecturer at the UZCI in 2011.

In 2012, Mushangwe went back to China where he enrolled for a doctoral degree in Chinese Linguistics and Applied Linguistics at Hebei University. He came back to Zimbabwe in 2015, since when he has devoted his career to teaching Chinese and researching second language acquisition.

His passion for teaching coupled with his love for Chinese turned the UZCI into a nursery for language learning and bolstered enrollment numbers.

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