Chinese language proficiency contest sparks enthusiasm among South African students

Source:xinhua 2024-05-22

The South Africa Finals of the 23rd "Chinese Bridge" Chinese Proficiency Competition for Foreign College Students were successfully held on Friday in Cape Town, the country's legislative capital.

The event attracted many Chinese language learners, educators and cultural enthusiasts, who witnessed the outstanding talent of South African students from universities across the country in learning the language. Among the tests set for the finalists were written quizzes, keynote speeches, question-and-answer sessions and a talent show, with each one of them presenting performances related to Chinese culture, including songs, dances, music and martial arts.

After intense competition, Aluwani Mavhungu from the University of the Western Cape won first prize and will represent South Africa at the global finals in China. The runner-up, Jessica Clarke from Stellenbosch University, will also travel to China to observe the global finals.

In congratulating the winners, You Wenze, Chinese consul-general in Cape Town, said learning Chinese is more than just acquiring a language skill. "As a global language, Chinese will open up broader avenues for your future development, help you to step into the gateway of a rich and colorful cultural world, and particularly dedicate yourselves to foster the friendly relationship between China and South Africa," he said.

"I sincerely hope that more and more South African friends will learn Chinese, love Chinese and understand Chinese," he added.

Mokgadi Tena, chief of staff for the South African Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, said this year's competition was the best she has attended in the past eight years, noting that it falls under the people-to-people exchanges and cooperation between her country and China.

"China is one of our biggest partners, and the cooperation between South Africa and China becomes very key," Tena told Xinhua. "So if they (South African students) learn the language, it means they are able to go and live in China, study in China and even work in Chinese companies. So it becomes very important that they learn the language, and we exchange culture."

Mavhungu, the first-prize winner, echoed the sentiment. "I think learning Chinese will open great doors for me. For example, I want to go to China, maybe to further my studies or to work there. So basically, if I can speak Chinese, I can understand what they are saying."

Iris Wu, chairperson of the "Chinese Bridge" Club in Cape Town, said the annual competition has consistently served as a vibrant platform for students across South Africa to showcase their language skills and deepen their understanding of one of the world's oldest and richest cultures.

"Today is about more than competition; it's about cultural appreciation, mutual respect, and the joy of learning," she added. "It is about building bridges that not only span geographical distances, but also connect hearts and minds across cultural divides."


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