Daily life of Chinese family is TV hit in Africa

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If you meet someone from Africa and want to break the ice, try talking about Doudou and Her Mothers-in-law.

President Xi Jinping tried this during his official visit to Tanzania last month. "Doudou and Her Mothers-in-law helps the Tanzanian audience learn about the joys and sorrows of an ordinary Chinese family," Xi said in a lecture. The audience burst into thunderous applause before he finished.

The Chinese TV series now has become a hot topic throughout Africa. After its success in Tanzania in 2011, it was broadcast in other countries like Kenya, Uganda and so on where it proved successful as well. While exporting Chinese TV series has seen few breakthroughs in recent years, the success of Doudou and Her Mothers-in-law serves as a fine example.

First screened in 2010, Doudou and Her Mothers-in-law is a 36-episode TV drama about the domestic life of two ordinary Chinese families. As the name implies, it mainly describes the relationship between daughters-in-law and their mothers-in-law. It is set in contemporary China and reveals how young people born in the 1980s understand marriage.

Before its success in Africa, the TV drama had won several domestic awards for its vivid representation of daily family life full of trivial problems and pleasures. It was chosen by the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) as an excellent drama to export mainly because it reflects contemporary life in China and Chinese culture.

Since November 2011, when it began to air in Tanzania, Doudou has aroused a passion for "Chinese daughters-in-law" in the country. Mao Doudou played by Hai Qing, and Yu Wei played by Huang Haibo are the two leading roles in the drama. They now represent young Chinese people to the Tanzanian audience.

Joe Lugalabamu, vice director of Tanzania State TV, reportedly said that through the drama, many Tanzanians realize what life is like for Chinese people today. Lugalabamu said the audience kept calling and sending messages to him to say how much they liked the show. Some complained that the drama was broadcast during the evening rush hour, which usually made office workers miss it.

Following the high ratings of its broadcast and rebroadcast in Tanzania, Kenya also introduced Doudou last November. As a matter of fact, the dubbing actors for the three leading roles are from Kenya. They told media that they found the life and relationships of Chinese families resonant well with them.

Mark Kapchanga, who lives in Nairobi, told the Global Times that the drama's popularity "is growing in Kenya everyday, especially among the middle-class who are about to get married or have just gotten married." He wrote in an e-mail, "It is informative, depicting the challenges inherent in Chinese marriages."

Meanwhile, other African countries such as Uganda and Comoros are also broadcasting the drama, all with positive feedback.

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