SA teacher allegedly assaulted in Chinese school abroad now safe in Germany - Dirco

English teacher Nolusindiso Hleko alleges she was assaulted at her Chinese school. Picture: JustNolu/YouTube

English teacher Nolusindiso Hleko alleges she was assaulted at her Chinese school. Picture: JustNolu/YouTube

Published Oct 5, 2023


A South African kindergarten teacher, who was teaching English in Shanghai, China, has safely left the country and is now in Germany after allegedly being assaulted by a human resources manager at the school.

Sporting a blue eye after the incident, Nolusindiso Hleko, a journeyed English teacher who had taught English in Busan, Korea, recorded a video detailing her harrowing experience in China, which saw her fleeing from the school without her phone, possessions, and shoes.

She said that after running out of the school, she managed to find a Chinese lady who assisted her in contacting the police.

“The HR manager punched me in my face during a disagreement. After he punched me and I was screaming trying to get out of his office, he grabbed my phone and said he didn't have my phone anymore,” Hleko recalled in a video posted on her YouTube channel.

Hleko recalled how none of the other teachers helped her and how she managed to run out of the school. She was assisted by a young Chinese woman who called the police, who quickly rushed to the scene.

“He was chasing me, and he was humming a song so that I can fall. I managed to get out of the building,... I didn't know what to do. I found a Chinese lady and asked her to call the cops.

“The police arrived, and when we got to the kindergarten, they said they were preventing me from leaving because they wanted me to calm down so that they can call the cops,” she said.

The school apparently claimed there was no CCTV footage of the incident, and the HR manager denied hitting Hleko, saying she had hit her eye on a couch.

“We went to the police station, and the vice principal said she was on the phone, but she didn't see anything. The cops said there is no proof, and my visa is expiring soon, so I need to settle.

“Feeling like I didn't have a choice, I ended up settling for compensation.

“I am making this video because there are so many of us who are suffering under the hands of our employers, who disobey the law and treat us very poorly. I am making this video because I feel powerless,” she said.

She also said she had been threatened and told she would never be able to teach again in the country.

Clayson Monyela, spokesperson for the Department of International Relations, said Hleko was no longer in China and was safe in Germany.

“I'm glad to report that she's already in contact with our ambassador on that side and has only good things to say about the support she's received from him. Please use our embassies abroad,” he said.


Meanwhile, Hleko has recorded her experience in China, where she moved in August last year after having been teaching English abroad since 2016 in Busan, South Korea.

She labelled her videos in China “My worst year abroad” and, in a separate video, concluded that despite the money being better, going to China was the “craziest stupidest decision I made”.

“It took me about six months to decide if it was something I wanted to do. I struggled a lot with the decision; there was a lot of anxiety and uncertainty. The journey was an exercise of patience and a lot of preparation,” she said.

Hleko also shared how stressful moving to China was—moving there without a job locked down and paying about 600,000 South Korean won (about R8,600) for four Covid-19 tests, all of which had to be negative.

The experience was “long and stressful,” she said, explaining that she had to take a test 14 days, seven days, two days, and on the day before she left.

She was also subjected to a strict Covid-19 quarantine once she landed in Shanghai, and she also explained how the Chinese were immersed in mask wearing, constant temperature surveillance, and a strict health regime.

By contrast, Hleko stayed in Busan, Korea, for 6 years, where she immersed herself in the culture and the people.

“I did not know that this country would capture my heart in a way I never thought possible.

“Each connection left an indelible mark on my soul. The kindness and generosity, the acts of goodwill, I am filled with gratitude and moments of bliss, she said of Korea.