DAR ES SALAAM, Nov. 2 (Xinhua) — On the bright afternoon of Tuesday, 32-year-old Florida Ferdinand Mtani who works at the China Cultural Center in Tanzania along the Ali Hassan Mwinyi Road in the port city of Dar es Salaam was busy receiving guests to an art exhibition.
The art exhibition that features Tingatinga art, a unique and vibrant style of painting that originated in Tanzania in the second half of the 20th century was being organized by the China Cultural Center.
The exhibition which opened Tuesday and showcased important artworks from both Tanzania and China was held in an effort to boost cultural exchanges between the two countries through art.
In an interview, Mtani said she has been working with the China Cultural Center since 2020. The center was the first of its kind set up in the east African region in 2015, with an aim to enhance cooperation and closer ties between Tanzania and China.
The center, located in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania’s largest city, has been well-received by the locals over the years. At the center, a series of cultural activities are held, including Chinese painting and calligraphy exhibitions, martial art courses, Chinese language training sessions, and cooking workshops.
Mtani said after she completed her university studies, she applied for a job as a receptionist and office assistant at the center which she secured.
“I love Chinese culture. I started learning Chinese culture, including Kung-Fu and their language when I was studying at the University of Dodoma,” said Mtani.
“Since I had known that the Chinese have a very good culture, I became interested in working with them. That is how I came to work with the China Cultural Center in Tanzania,” said the soft-spoken woman. “When I was in university, I learned Chinese language and Chinese martial arts like Kung-Fu.”
She said her job as a receptionist and office assistant involves welcoming guests and helping her Chinese colleagues to plan and host events. “I like my job. We have several events here. This year we had the Mid-Autumn Chinese festival which I loved the most.”
She said Tanzanians are interested in learning Chinese Kung-Fu after they had watched and been inspired by movies like Bruce Lee’s. “They always come here to register for Kung-Fu courses. The Kung-Fu courses help them to cultivate discipline and improve their self-defense.”
She added that more Tanzanians also tried to learn the Chinese language because many Chinese companies based in Tanzania prefer hiring Tanzanians who speak Chinese.
She meanwhile said that the Chinese are also learning Kiswahili to make communication easier between them and the local people.
From Wednesday to Friday, Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan will pay a state visit to China. Mtani believes the visit will significantly cement the long-time cultural and economic cooperation between the two countries. “The visit will also play a major role in opening wider Tanzania’s investment opportunities to Chinese investors.” ■