Vimbayi Kajese: The Face of Africa for China and China for Africa
We share this story of Vimbayi Kajese, News Anchor with China Central Television (CCTV), for those who are thinking of or are open to venturing out of the United States to pursue their career goal – in any industry or trade. Her story may inspire you to explore the world.
28-year-old Zimbabwean Vimbayi Kajese first came to China for a visit in 2004, then moved to Beijing in 2006. She now works as the early morning news presenter at CCTV-9, the English Channel of China Central Television. She is the first African news presenter on the Chinese Mainland and perhaps the whole of Asia too. Her bright smile, eloquent diction and elegant demeanor have impressed millions of TV viewers and Internet users around the world.
While doing her first degree in the U.S, Vimbayi Kajese won an all-expense paid scholarship trip to China. It was on this trip, in 2004 that she first fell in love with the country. She was fascinated by the culture, the food and of course the people. After completing her undergraduate degree, she chose to leave the United States and pursue a Master’s degree in International Relations and Diplomacy at China Foreign Affair’s University in Beijing. After graduating from CFAU, Kajese decided to stay in China and develop her career.
We sat down with Ms Kajese at CCTV.com’s headquarters to talk about her experiences. We got a chance to find out how this beautiful young lady views the world through some of the questions you the viewers have been asking about her.
CCTV.com: When people think of Africa, they think jungle, heat and adventure. But what’s the first thing you tell people when they ask you about your continent?
Vimbayi Kajese: You know, people normally associate Africa with wild life and the safaris. But the true essence of Africa that I’d like to stress first and foremost is the people. Unfortunately, through the one-dimensional lens of the media, we the people have been relegated to the background of the wild life spectacle. The real adventure and beauty of Africa is through engagement with us the people; understanding our vastness in terms of cultural, religious and racial diversity; it’s too grand to be summed up in a few words, let alone be represented by one person and or one nation alone.
CCTV.com: You’ve had a global upbringing. In all the countries you’ve lived in and traveled to, which one/ones do you like most?
VK: Besides my home country, I can’t say that I have a favorite; each country was pertinent for that stage of development I was in at the time.
For example: in Malawi – I was there as a 4 year old – my relationship with my siblings was solidified; In Belgium, I found my taste for classical & techno music, and my love affair with food especially French fries began; In Zimbabwe – as a teen – I was reconnected with my cultural values, my extended family, and in essence my ‘Zim’ identity; In the US, I truly found myself and honed my skills as a communicator and a writer; And in China, I feel here is where it’s all coming together. It’s a big deal for me now at this point in my life… to make China my second home away from Zimbabwe and truly base myself here.
(China is about the 8th country Kajese has lived in, out of almost 30 she’s traveled to.)
CCTV.com: How did you get the job at CCTV?
VK: (Sighing) It took a lot of perseverance. While I was learning how to produce news pieces at one of the big international news agencies here in Beijing, I contacted CCTV in January this year, made calls and sent emails to let them know I was interested. My information got past around, and after many long silences, I wasn’t sure if they’d actually put me, a Black woman on the main news. In fact many people, even those that worked here (at CCTV) were skeptical and thought it was highly unlikely, because I was African and it had never been done before. But, after a few screen tests, voice training sessions, prayer, positive thinking and the opening up of this new morning shift (5am – 9am)…eight months later I was anchoring my first program.
You can read Vimbayi Kajese’s full interview at CCTV.com