(Xinhua) -- The fighting spirit of a boxing champion, a hip-pop band
from a slum, a robber-turned film director, and more untold African stories are
presented to Chinese audiences by an amateur duo.
Their short films are being displayed
at an exhibition during China-Africa Economic and Culture Week
in the southern city of Guangzhou between April 20 and May 3.
Du Fengyan, director of the films, has
traveled across 13 African countries so far, with an ambition to
depict real life Africans and break long-standing stereotypes.
Du, 32, first set foot on the
continent six years ago as a cycling tourist. From the Suez
Canal to the Cape of Good Hope, Du was bombarded with warm
“Those days and people always linger
on my mind,” Du recalled.
Du said he was touched by the African
people, fascinated by their diverse culture, and had a sense of
deja vu in Africa—born in the 1980s, he witnessed radical
changes in China, and believes a similar story is unfolding in
“I want to capture those lingering
figures and record this changing process, based on the
shared feelings between African and Chinese people,” Du
During his first trip, he met Qi Lin,
a freelance photographer and, like him, a huge fan of African
With little filming experience, they
started a program of photography and documentary in 2015,
focusing on ordinary Africans.
Qi had worked for a Chinese company in
Kenya for five years and had connections there. In June 2016,
he learned that his Kenyan friend and boxing coach Michael
Odhiambo was going to fight a farewell match, and they decided
to film it.
It was their first time to enter
Kibera, the largest slum in Kenya’s capital Nairobi.
“Michael grew up in Kibera and became
a boxing champion. He fought so hard to protect and support
his family,” Du said. “But what intrigued us most was his
effort to help kids in the slum.”
The local hero initiated a project
called “Champion of Kibera.” He coaches boxing, helps dozens of
children back to school, and even supports one of them to study
After the shooting, Odhiambo
introduced a hip-hop band in Kibera to the duo, and the band
later introduced other friends to them.
Story by story, the lives and dreams
of grassroots Africans, rarely seen in mainstream coverage,
surfaced in the program.
“Life is hard and dragging them down,
but they don’t want to fall. They’re fighting, with the
beautiful things in life such as music and dance,” Du said.
Besides the exhibition, the duo’s work
can be viewed on Chinese television, video-streaming sites,
social media, and a live webcast on popular news apps.
Many contributors to the exhibition
are businessmen and former Chinese expats in Africa,
volunteering to promote mutual understanding between China and
“We’ve met many young Chinese like
them in Africa,” Du said. “At first it was the engineers
that went to Africa, then the businessmen, and now you will
find people from all walks of life, and usually
well-educated. Communication is more frequent and in-depth
than it used to be.”
In Du’s opinion, China and Africa have
a shared memory of suffering, from war, poverty and
colonization, but they can also share a prosperous future.
“The popularity of Chinese commodities
in Africa has proven its market potential to the whole
world,” Du said. “This continent has a population of 1.2
billion and the majority of them are young. The economies in
some countries are booming. African youth are expecting a