Zhu Jianmin touches heart of young Namibians through language teaching

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A student learns to speak Chinese during a Chinese language class at Immanuel Shifidi Secondary School in Windhoek, Namibia, on Oct. 17, 2022. In-person Chinese language classes for secondary schools in Namibia resumed on Monday after a long break over the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by Ndalimpinga Iita/Xinhua)
A student learns to speak Chinese during a Chinese language class at Immanuel Shifidi Secondary School in Windhoek, Namibia, on Oct. 17, 2022. In-person Chinese language classes for secondary schools in Namibia resumed on Monday after a long break over the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by Ndalimpinga Iita/Xinhua)

Zhu Jianmin, a Chinese language teacher, began a class with graphic aids, music, and storytelling on Friday afternoon. The innovative approach forms part of her strategy to effectively impart the Chinese language, often deemed obscure by many locals.

“That way, it is fun, and the learners find a purpose to come to the classes,” she said Friday.

Zhu works at the Confucius Institute at the University of Namibia, responsible for sites at Immanuel Shifidi Secondary and Chairman Mao Zedong Secondary Schools in Windhoek.

“Today is my 15th lesson with secondary school learners since my arrival in Namibia in September this year. It is a dream come true. I had many options, but I chose Namibia to share a bit of China with the young people,” Zhu said.

She learned about Namibia after watching a four-episode documentary called Glamorous Namibia aired in China and Namibia last year. The documentary features Namibia’s history, economy, cultural diversity, landscape, and experiences of Chinese people in Namibia and provides the context of the synopsis of China-Namibia bilateral relations and cooperation milestones since as early as the 1960s.

“I instantly fell in love with the scenery, nature, perspectives, and knew I had to come here and immerse in its culture and people while I add value by teaching the Chinese language,” Zhu said.

She added that the mountainous area of central Namibia helps her reminisce about the high plateaus of her hometown in Qinghai Province in northwest China.

Upon completing postgraduate studies in teaching speakers of other languages at Hainan Normal University in China, Zhu pursued a vocation in Namibia.

“I am promoting this cooperation further through language teaching. I am keen to learn the local language, the people, and the culture, make more friends in Namibia, and travel to many places,” she said.

|”That way, I also embrace diversity and Africa. The only other country I briefly visited in Africa was Egypt. Therefore, Namibia sets the ground for me in sharing China with the people of the African continent, which I will do with love and care,” she said.

Meanwhile, her assertive teaching approach won the hearts of learners.

Geraldo, a grade 10 learner at Chairman Mao Zedong Secondary School, said Zhu inspired him to dream big to fulfil his wish to visit Beijing.

“Teacher Zhu is very patient with us. She makes the class fun and understanding and does it with love and passion,” he said.

Herman Katjiuongua, school principal of Immanuel Shifidi Secondary School in Windhoek, said Zhu had exuded great confidence in re-igniting learners’ dreams.

“Many learners now dream bigger as they acquire Chinese language skills, which will serve as a bridge to getting scholarships. And the Chinese teacher plays a pivotal role in giving hope,” said Katjiuongua.

In the interim, Zhu hopes to transform the lives of many young people through her work.

“Many youngsters are learning the language to access scholarships and other opportunities in China, and I am a conduit to that breakthrough,” she said. Enditem

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