While much attention is paid to male (mainly West African) singers in China. Sierra Leonan, Mariatu Kargbo has been performing in China for several years.
By Wu Xiujie, for sino-us.com (2012)
Mariatu Kargbo, a 5 feet 8 inches tall mixed-race girl from Sierra Leone, is now a singer based in China. People here have given her the nickname Luminous Black Pearl Maria. In China, luminous pearl is regarded as a symbol of nobility and happiness and is often used as a metaphor for beautiful and loving young ladies.
In 2009, Kargbo became the only contestant in the Miss World history to win two awards in the same section – Miss World Talent and Miss World Dress Designer. She is regarded as a super star in her native Sierra Leone.
While talking with Kargbo, one can easily feel her gentle temperament, intelligence, open mindedness, and mature personality which perhaps has much to do with her difficult childhood period.
Kargbo was born in Freetown, capital of Sierra Leone. “My father passed away when I was three months old. And my mom fell ill while giving birth to me,” Kargbo said, “I had to engage in some small businesses in the street, like selling ice water, to support my family and make money for my schooling.”
“But the money earned this way was far from enough. I then started to sing and dance when I was eight years old. I went around with a performing group to different countries to perform, model, sing and dance,” she said. As Kargbo struggled to make a living, she did not know that a life-changing opportunity was awaiting her 6,000 miles away, in China…