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African student becomes well known in Vietnam after movie role

African student becomes well known in Vietnam after movie role

Wednesday, February 21, 2024, 15:28 GMT+7
African student becomes well known in Vietnam after movie role
Oraiden Manuel Sabonete (R) plays a role as a French soldier in the ‘Dao, Pho and Piano’ movie. Photo: Supplied

After playing a role in the Vietnamese movie ‘Dao, Pho, and Piano,' Oraiden Manuel Sabonete, a 24-year-old Mozambican junior at the Hanoi University of Science and Technology, became famous both on social media and at his university.

He portrayed a French soldier in the smash hit movie, which premiered at the National Cinema Center in Hanoi during the Lunar New Year (Tet) holiday, celebrated from February 8 to 14.

The movie was first screened at 18 Beta Media’s cinemas from Wednesday, local media reported.

It is expected to hit screens nationwide as soon as possible, according to the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism.

Sabonete recounted that he was called ‘Duc’ in Vietnamese by his teachers and friends after he arrived in the Southeast Asian nation as a Vietnamese government scholarship recipient.

“Duc, which means virtue, is a beautiful and meaningful name,” he said.

Oraiden Manuel Sabonete (C), an African student, is surprised to be famous after starring in the ‘Dao, Pho and Piano’ movie. Photo: Nguyen Bao / Tuoi Tre

Oraiden Manuel Sabonete (C), an African student, is surprised to become famous after playing a role in the ‘Dao, Pho and Piano’ movie. Photo: Nguyen Bao / Tuoi Tre

Sabonete expressed his surprise to Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper on Tuesday afternoon, noting that his photos depicting his role in the movie 'Dao, Pho and Piano' had unexpectedly gone viral.

“Many strangers added me as a friend [on social media], while my friends texted and phoned me to congratulate me on my performance in this movie," he shared. 

“Some of them expressed their regrets about failing to book a movie ticket.

“I am so glad to get the attention and love from Vietnamese people.

“I am proud of being an African and a Mozambican, and playing a part in a movie about Vietnamese history."

Sabonete recalled that he spent five days filming with the crew in 2022 and 2023.

Oraiden Manuel Sabonete (C) in a scene of the ‘Dao, Pho and Piano’ movie. Photo: Supplied

Oraiden Manuel Sabonete (C) in a scene of the ‘Dao, Pho and Piano’ movie. Photo: Supplied

He attributed the success of the movie to the determination and dedication of the directors, actors, producers, and staff, along with their close collaboration, he said.

He explained that his decision to come to Vietnam for study was influenced by a history class he took in eighth grade.

The lesson on global history left a lasting impression on him, particularly highlighting Vietnam as a resilient nation with unyielding and friendly people, he remarked.

When he was 19 years old, Sabonete made a decision to stop studying computer engineering at Lurio University, one of the leading universities of engineering and natural science in Mozambique, to secure a scholarship from the Vietnamese government.

“When I decided to come to Vietnam to study, my relatives and friends prevented me as they thought that a war was taking place in Vietnam," he recalled.

“However, I explained to them that the war was over and was in the past. Vietnam is now safe."

Upon arriving in Vietnam, the African student enrolled in a Vietnamese language course at the Thai Nguyen University of Education in northern Thai Nguyen Province, completing a one-year program.

Achieving a perfect score of 10 in a language speaking test, Sabonete opted to pursue a major in electrical engineering at the Hanoi University of Science and Technology.

He believes that knowledge about the major will help him contribute to developing the energy industry in Mozambique.

When he has trouble with new Vietnamese vocabularies and terms, Sabonete always asks for help from his teachers and friends.

He spends three or four hours a day self-learning to catch up with his classmates.

“Studying at the Hanoi University of Science and Technology is a challenge. When I feel dispirited, I always call my father to tell him about my studies," he said.

“Every time I wanted to give up, I surfed Facebook and saw my friends in the homeland express their admiration for me and consider me an exemplar.

"As such, I was again determined to pursue my learning at the university."

Overcoming all obstacles related to the language, he got the maximum scores for some courses, such as Marxist - Leninist Political Economy, which is difficult even for many Vietnamese students.

During his second school year, Sabonete and his friends conducted a scientific study on the economic relationship between Vietnam and Mozambique to compete in a contest for universities, and won the first prize.

In 2023, Sabonete and his lecturer Nguyen Thi Phuong Dung created two works to participate in a contest on protecting the Communist Party of Vietnam’s ideological foundation, and bagged the first prize for the magazine category and the second prize for the video one.

He and his two Lao and Cambodian friends joined a Vietnamese Speaking Contest in October last year, and received a consolation prize.

Oraiden Manuel Sabonete revealed that he would return to Mozambique to help develop his country. Photo: Nguyen Bao / Tuoi Tre

Oraiden Manuel Sabonete revealed that he would return to Mozambique to help develop his country. Photo: Nguyen Bao / Tuoi Tre

‘Dao, Pho and Piano’ is among the movies financed by Vietnam's national budget.

Directed by Phi Tien Son, the movie is inspired by a 60-day-and-night fight to defend Hanoi in late 1946 and early 1947.

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Tieu Bac - Nguyen Bao / Tuoi Tre News

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