Home Opinion Featured Articles Tanzanian youth turn to kung fu to end unemployment

Tanzanian youth turn to kung fu to end unemployment

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Yasini Rajabu Bakari, 26, is a resident of Mbagala on the outskirts of Tanzania’s commercial hub of Dar es Salaam, but he works as a kung fu trainer in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates.

“Chinese kung fu is in my blood. The Chinese martial arts is also my lifetime savior,” quips Bakari who tells in great detail about his love for kung fu and his training journey before landing the job in Dubai.

“I started cultivating interest in kung fu when I was in primary school in the early 2000s,” Bakari told Xinhua Monday at the FitPoa Combat Sports Club, also known as Dragon Fight Club, which is located in the posh Msasani suburb in Dar es Salaam.

Bakari, who is on vacation back home from his kung fu trainer job in Dubai, said he decided to teach more young people the Chinese martial arts.

He mentioned his mother as the brains behind his love for kung fu, saying she is the one who sent him to a training club called Mbagala Tai Shaolin Kung Fu Club when he was in Standard Three at Kibonde Maji primary school. His love for kung fu started at the club and continued until when he completed his secondary school education at Kibasila secondary school in 2013.

Bakari said his kung fu stardom started in 2011 when the Tanzania Wushu Association picked 11 Tanzanian youth Kung Fu trainees to participate in the World Children’s Games in Ankara, Türkiye, where he won a gold medal and a silver medal after he had competed with his fellow youth from 32 countries across the world, including five African countries of Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Nigeria and Gabon.

“I emerged number one from the five African countries and number seven worldwide,” said Bakari, wearing a broad smile, adding that the Türkiye competition started to change his life for the better.

“When I came back to Tanzania people, including my family members, started to respect me, and some of them started to support me,” he recalled, adding that when he participated in the competition in Türkiye he became the first person in his family to travel outside Africa.

His kung fu stardom became brighter in 2014 when the Tanzania Wushu Association in collaboration with the Chinese Embassy in Tanzania sent him to be trained in kung fu for four weeks at the Shaolin Temple in central China’s Henan Province.

Again in 2017, the Tanzania Wushu Association in collaboration with the Chinese Embassy in Tanzania sponsored Bakari to get further training for three months at Huo Yuanjia Civil and Military School in Tianjin Municipality, where he was awarded a diploma in wushu (martial arts) after he had completed a program in wushu coaching training course.

“Both training courses were fully supported by the Chinese embassy,” said Bakari, who is now married to Nusaiba Abdulaziz Sinani and they have a one-year-old daughter.

After he was bestowed with the diploma in Tianjin, Bakari landed a job as a trainer at Dragon Warriors Martial Arts Club in Dubai for nine months before he joined Elite Karate Club where he is currently teaching kung fu to people from different nationalities.

Bakari has new ambitions and wants to hone his martial arts skills.

“My future plans are to go to China again to (get) trained more in martial arts and to train my daughter when she turns four years. I want her to follow in the footsteps of his father,” said Bakari, who has trained more than 500 Tanzanian youth and over 200 people in Dubai where he said he was living a comfortable life with his family.

He said he looks forward to a flourishing cultural exchange between China and Tanzania as the two countries have been friends since time immemorial. “Tanzanians need to learn more about the Chinese culture, and Chinese need to learn more about the Tanzanian culture,” said Bakari.

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