Nilievna Nkanza (27 years old) he is an African student coming from the Republic of Congo doing a Master degree in Mechanical Engineering at Yangtze university in the city of Jingzhou in China.
Nilievna, after spending only a year in China, became the first Postgraduate foreign student and first African man to ever participate in a Chinese national competition, “3rd Annual Petroleum Equipment Innovative Design Competition for China’s Postgraduate” which took place between the 21st and 22nd October 2016 at Qingdao City.
Students participating in the competition came from various universities from all over the country. They worked in teams of 3, creating innovative machine engineering. They were financially sponsored by their university’s Dean.
However, when Nilievna asked to register to participate in the competition he initially faced a lot of hostility from his Chinese classmates and teachers as it was an unprecedented situation for a black student to join a Chinese national competition in his university.
China is still a predominantly homogeneous society with a population of 1 billion of inhabitants with a social standard of living being merely inspired by the Caucasian standard and where foreigners only represent 28% of the whole population living in the country and black people remain a rarity. Contrary to his fellow classmates, Nilievna worked alone on the creation of an innovative machine engineering because no other classmate believed in his chance to make it and refused to join his team and none of the deans of his department financially sponsored his machine unlike his others Chinese classmates.
Even when he had to write a report on the development of his innovative machine in Chinese, these obstacles didn’t stop him to reach his goal! He worked from Monday to Sunday at his office starting at 9 am to 11 pm daily and often spent sleepless nights in his office to work on his project during his summer holiday. He used his own resources to create the drafts of his machine at the astonishment of his teachers.
His hard work and determination paid off as he ended up being listed among others students from his university to go to the national competition in Qingdao where over 500 Chinese Postgraduate students participated at the competition and he became 3rd ith his innovative idea!
The president of the competition was surprised but very pleased to see an African student attending the competition for the first time of its history and the whole department of Nilievna’s university was applauded for bringing him along because without realizing it, he made a historical step in the Chinese national education by paving the way for other black students wishing to integrate national competition in China.
CREDIT: From a BusyGhana Reader in China, Allegra