Chinese proficiency contest hailed as an important Sino-Africa cultural bridge

An unprecedented number of Kenyan students turned up for the Chinese proficiency contest held at the University of Nairobi on Friday.

Over and above the 15 students from four Kenyan public universities who were active contestants in the talent show, hundreds others filled the famous Taifa Hall to witness a competition that brought out the best from Kenyans pursuing Chinese studies offered at the Confucius institutes.

The impressive turn out, according to the Deputy Head of Mission for the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China Zhao Xiyuan, demonstrates the bridging of cultures between Kenya and his country.

You could see the enthusiasm in the audience. The performances of ancient Chinese poem, traditional martial arts and modern music was magnificent. Kenyans are good in this. I could feel their love for Chinese culture and language, and their love for the Chinese way of life,” Zhao

Zhao further attributed the good showing to the deepening bi-lateral relations between the two sides that has particularly created an opportunity for both Kenyan and Chinese nationals to learn each other’s culture.

With closer cooperation and our tradition friendship between China and Kenya, more and more Chinese people will come to Kenya as visitors, investors and live a good life here and enjoy the Kenyan culture. I also see a good number of Kenyan students moving to China to study and other to even do business. I hope in future our people could have more opportunities for cultural exchanges,” he said

He expressed contentment at the level of performances showcased by participants and committed to make it the Embassy’s duty to enhance the friendship and provide more opportunities for Chinese and Kenyans to understands each other’s cultures.

Our theme is ‘Together for a shared future’. The whole world is a big family. We hope people can feel and enjoy each others friendship, language and culture,” said Zhao

This Chinese talent show comes in different forms which include Chinese songs, speech, calligraphy, Kongfu, and folk dance among others.

Honestly, it was a bit challenging, the speech section where we had to talk for a maximum of three minutes and a minimum of two minutes, that was the tricky part but I enjoyed every aspect of it,” stated by Michelle Muthoni, one of the contestants.

Hansnick Omondi Otieno from the Confucius Institute at the University of Nairobi emerged the overall winner of the competition and he is optimistic he will do well in the next round of the competition.

This caught me by surprise. I didn’t really expect to which because I thought there are many other competitors who did well in the talent show. I may not be so profient in Chinese but I am so happy with this achievement and I know I will become better in my understanding of Chinese language and culture,” he said

Omondi’s sister Brenda Achieng expressed joy and confirmed that he was sure his brother will emerge the winner given his dedication and commitment to learn Chinese.

He has put in a lot of effort into it. I always tell him the only difference between my bother and the Chinese is his colour and the height, otherwise he is one of them in all he does,” she said

Speaking during the competition, the Deputy General Manager for China Communication Construction Company for East Africa Sun Mengxin, who also played the role of a judge, noted that compared to the previous competitions, this year’s competitors have maintained a sound level.

This is the fifth time for me to take part and my overall impression is that the talent performances all candidates have maintain satisfactory levels compared with the previous,” he said

I could not see a better performance especially regarding the right pronunciations and the right tones in speaking Chinese,” said Sun

The Chinese Bridge competition which tests contestants the proficiency in Chinese does not only involve accessing speaking skills but also tests their knowledge of the Chinese culture and talent.

These Chinese bridge competitions were drawn from the four Kenyan Confucius institutes in University of Nairobi, Egerton University, Kenyatta University, and Moi University. The competition has clocked 21 years since its inception.

The contest was organized by the Center for Language Education and Cooperation, affiliated with the Ministry of Education of China, and the Chinese Embassy in Kenya in partnership with the Confucius Institute at the University of Nairobi.


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