By Yunus Kemp
BEIJING, Aug. 26 (Xinhuanet) -- There are 12 South Africans who are making their mark in China and whose lives have been encapsulated in a documentary due to be shown on television – in China and South Africa.
Recently, Crienglish.com, the English website of China Radio International, held a media showcase at the Beijing Jintai Art Museum to present the documentary series South Africans in China.
The series is to celebrate 2015 "Year of China" in South Africa and "to enhance the friendship and understanding between the two peoples".
South Africans in China will be broadcast in an integrated way, which combines new and traditional media, South African and Chinese media. In addition to Crienglish.com, China.com, Youku, Tencent and Youtube, Beijing TV documentary channel and etv in South Africa, will also broadcast this series in the near future, according to Crienglish.com.
“South Africans in China” started filming in December 2014.
Over the past six months, the video team of Crienglish.com filmed the South Africans living and working in Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Huizhou, and Yangzhou and produced 12 documentaries, each has been edited to 10 minutes. Two of them – Mark O’ Connell (from George in the Western Cape) and Andile Munyai (from Sandton in Gauteng) – were at the showcase to share some of their experiences in China.
O’ Connell used to work at Fancourt Golf Course before landing a job at the Xili Golf and Country Club in Shenzhen six years ago.
“It was quite intimidating being filmed, but it made it easier for me that it was at work.”
O’ Connell says he flies home at least once a year with his family. “China is my home for the foreseeable future.”
Munyai is based in Beijing and studies International Business Marketing at Beijing Foreign Studies University.
“I came to China to study because I noticed the growing relationship between South Africa and China. China’s relationship aligns with South African development goals.
“I want to participate and learn as much as I can, take the knowledge back to South Africa. My dream is to establish businesses that will enhance partnerships between South African trade and Chinese Trade.”
Some of the others documented in this series are from various fields including business, education, art, sport and communication.
Grant Horsfield in Shanghai is the founder of green tourism project “Naked Retreats” and Winston Sterzel focuses on video blogging on the streets of Shenzhen to show people what China is really like.
Their stories are meant to reflect the lives of South Africans in China and the mutual understanding between the Chinese people and the South African people.
South African ambassador to China, Dolana Msimang said the initiative by China Radio International was important in that it would take the experience of South Africans living in China to a broader audience here and back home.
“It is so heartening to see South Africans acknowledged in such a way, far from home. South Africa is far away from China, but we are close and our relationship is flourishing.
“There are more than 300,000 Chinese people in South Africa. This documentary is important. It will help the two nations understand each other better.”
Xia Jixuan, China Radio International’s vice president said the idea of the “Chinese Dream” raised by Chinese President Xi Jinping is not only about the dreams of the Chinese people, but also the dreams of foreigners in China.
Liu Guijin, former Chinese ambassador to South Africa said to further consolidate and expand the relationship, interaction and understanding among people were of even more importance and significance as the foundation of state-to-state relations.
“More works like ‘South Africans in China’ are needed.”
Yunus Kemp is the Deputy Editor of the Cape Argus. He is on a 10-month scholarship with the China Africa Press Center