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Feature: From village boy to a Kung Fu enthusiast

WINDHOEK, May 13 (Xinhua) -- With precision and utmost technicality, 22-year-old Luis Matthew left most of the audience and judges in awe with his Chinese Kung Fu performance at a Chinese language proficiency competition held earlier this week in Namibia's capital Windhoek.

This was the only unique performance at the competition which differed from nine other contestants who opted to sing and play instruments.

"I decided to perform that particular discipline in order to show the people about the talent that I possess within the Chinese culture and why I'm in love with the whole Chinese culture and language," he told Xinhua.

Born in the northern Kavango Region in a small village called Biro, Luis came from a poor family, where he grew up with his grandmother while his mother was trying to make ends meet in another town.

"My mother was in the South looking for a job and my father was a truck driver who was a polygamist, so I did not receive much from him when I was young," he said.

Luis said that during his childhood he did not have any access to many of the modern world's lifestyle since most of the things were unaffordable.

"One thing I enjoyed was watching Chinese Kung Fu films, though we did not have a television at home, I used to travel kilometres to places they had and used to pay 0.50 Namibian dollars (0.03 U.S. dollars) to watch Chinese films," he said.

Luis idolized the likes of Bruce lee, Jackie Chan and Jet Lee, and this contributed to his desire to understand and learn the Chinese culture.

"Through my journey of dreaming, I always wished to be in China to get access to the Kung Fu schools, but that was just theory in the village. But despite hardship, l always had faith and hope that one day I will be there," he added.

The story behind the Kung-fu enthusiast, is that the Chinese artistic form had always been his love and dream since he was young.

The day for him to learn more of the Chinese culture and language came when he enrolled for University of Namibia (UNAM) Rundu campus in 2012, were he is currently a 4th year Bachelor of Business Administration student.

"I expected to find a Chinese Kung Fu teacher, unfortunately only karate lessons were offered. I joined the club and trained for four years, while I was also training my Kung Fu basics at home," he said.

To better advance his dream, in 2015, Chinese Mandarin was introduced at UNAM Rundu Campus and this came as a blessing to Luis, as he joined the class and finished his level 1 Mandarin course.

"I was one of the best performers in oral and practical exams. Currently I'm doing my level 2 and I do not have doubts of passing it with a distinction. I am also helped by my Chinese friends who own shops around, whom I often speak with in Mandarin and they also assist and teach me the Chinese culture," he said.

Meanwhile, Luis said it is very rare in life to be successful without encountering some challenges.

"Through my journey of learning Chinese language, I encountered a lot of criticism from many people starting from the martial arts I train and the language I learn. People tell me I'm wasting my time and I will never be at that level but I ignore them," he said.

Despite these challenges, Luis has derived a lot of benefits and hopes one day he will be able to travel to China so that he can pave way for other budding Kung Fu enthusiasts.

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