He played a French soldier in the popular 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 shown at 18 Beta Media’s theaters from Wednesday, as reported by local media.

According to the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism, it is expected to be released nationwide as soon as possible.

Sabonete shared that when he came to the Southeast Asian country as a Vietnamese government scholarship recipient, his teachers and friends started calling him 'Duc', which means virtue in Vietnamese.

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

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 called me to congratulate me on my performance in this movie," he shared. 

“Some of them expressed their regrets about not being able to get a movie ticket.

“I am so happy to receive attention and love from Vietnamese people.

“I am proud to be an African and a Mozambican, and to participate 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

He credited the success of the movie to the determination and dedication of the directors, actors, producers, and staff, as well as their close collaboration.

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

The lesson on global history left a lasting impression on him, especially to Vietnam as a resilient country 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 tried to stop me as they thought that there was a war happening in Vietnam," he recalled.

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

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.

After getting a perfect score of 10 in a language speaking test, Sabonete chose to continue his major in electrical engineering at Hanoi University of Science and Technology.

He believes that his knowledge in the major will help contribute to the development of the energy industry in Mozambique.

Whenever he encounters new Vietnamese vocabulary and terms, Sabonete always asks for help from his teachers and friends.

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

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

“Every time I wanted to give up, I would browse Facebook and see my friends back home expressing admiration for me and considering me as a role model.

"With that, I become determined again to continue my studies at the university."

Overcoming all language-related difficulties, he earned the highest scores in some courses, such as Marxist - Leninist Political Economy, which is considered difficult even for many Vietnamese students.

During his second year, Sabonete and his friends conducted a scientific study on the economic relationship between Vietnam and Mozambique to enter a competition for universities, and they won first prize.

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

He and his two friends from Laos and Cambodia 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

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

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