Chinese-Tanzanian soccer bonanza should be emulated

04Dec 2017
The Guardian
Chinese-Tanzanian soccer bonanza should be emulated

AN interesting event in the business and sports field is being held towards the end of the coming week, with the Chinese community in Tanzania through the Tanzania-China business chamber organizing a Sino-Tanzania five a side friendly soccer bonanza.

This event is meant to consolidate ties at community level between the two sides, an event basically organised as part of cultural interaction, where sporting competition brings people to cheer their groups in a friendly atmosphere. It becomes a memorable occasion meanwhile as it doesn’t cost much to organise, and can be made multiple to boost its reach.

This event is an indication that a sizeable Chinese community is beginning to develop in Dar es Salaam and gradually in other urban areas and begin to spread out in various sectors, as it is already the case even at the point of departure. Sporting ties will serve to further the interaction and exchange between the two business communities and by implication cement ties between the two countries, simply by drawing up a plural competitive event on December 10 at the Indoor National Stadium. Similar events are within reach.

Prof Yan Liu, director of the Confucius Institute at the University of Dar es Salaam told reporters that the event is meant to enrich the leisure time of Chinese community members and their Tanzanian associates. The sporting event is basically meant to bring together Chinese and local people working in enterprises or institutions where the Chinese are also present in significant portions, or would even be dominating such organisation. It underlines the fact that despite the usual focus on ownership, all business is essentially a creative and cooperative endeavor, where the genius of one brings it up, and toil of many fuels operations.

The event is organised as an indoor five-person international standard football matches, with a local international referee and 15 team members of Chinese companies divided into three groups. Each team will be composed of Chinese and Tanzanian members, with the event likely to draw considerable interest among Chinese people in Dar es Salaam in particular. It is an occasion to know one another, as at times even Chinese people working in different companies don’t have much time to know one another, let alone figuring out the time that they may spend to know the neighborhood, learn something on the community.

Match organisers were offering free entry for audiences to the matches, with soccer fans apart from family members of employees of Chinese firms being urged to attend, and draw others as well to that event. It becomes an occasion to test some lines of gossip, as to how much the Chinese use Kiswahili if invited to speak, for many of them don’t rush to learn English if they are coming to Tanzania. Many local people are reciprocating, that they learn Chinese to find their way in business missions in that country, trying to reach China by learning English first. It is the first time a foreign language has that status, here.

So there is a sporting event that is inviting enthusiasts to attend, but beneath it lies an experiment that is progressing quite well, for the role of the Chinese language in business and even in television soap operas is beginning to mark the cultural landscape. There may be something distinctively Chinese about the way in which Chinese culture is penetrating into the country, including a readiness to live with common people in the most ordinary trading environment for instance in the thronged business district in the Kariakoo-Gerezani area, to start with. Other business communities may viably take a leaf from this event.

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