Rwandan students enrolled in the Chinese Confucius Institute at the University of Rwanda (UR) on Friday showcased what they can do as far as Chinese culture and languages are concerned.
This was during the Bridge Chinese Proficiency Competitions for Rwandan college students which was held at the College of Education.
The event was attended by officials from the Ministry of Education, vice-chancellor of UR, members of the Chinese community in Rwanda and officials from the Chinese embassy led by Ambassador Pan Hejun.
The student performances portrayed diverse cultures in dances, speeches, acrobatics, oral tests in Chinese and songs.
The Confucius Institute at the University of Rwanda was opened in June 2009, after friendly negotiations between the Chongqing Normal University (CQNU) from China, and the then Kigali Institute of Education, now University of Rwanda’s College of Education.
It is a non-profit organisation that is primarily charged with promoting Chinese language and culture, and enhancing cultural and academic exchanges between Rwanda and China.
Speaking at the event, Prof. Murty Kopparthi, the acting principal of Rwanda’s College of Business and Economics said that students should cherish such practices since they can open doors for them to go to China to further their education careers.
Professor Philip Cotton, the vice chancellor of UR said, “I am very impressed by the competition. Though I did not hear a word, I can surely tell that you people are working really hard.”
Chantal Uzayisenga, a girl who acted a Chinese rap and one of the best performers of the evening said Chinese it is not as complicated as it is perceived.
“I have been in the school for about a year. It is not hard if you give it time and love to learn. I could understand every word that I was speaking,” she said.
Zhang Xia, a Chinese cultural instructor at the Confucius Institute said that Rwandan people are fast learners and this makes her work easy. She, however, said that one of the challenges they face is that Chinese is not a common language spoken in Rwanda or in any of the neighbouring countries and this means that the environment does not favour day to day practice of the language for the learners.
Besides the Confucius Institute, other things that the Chinese embassy is doing to strengthen cultural ties include; sponsoring the Kungfuwushu competitions that happen annually, observing Chinese festivities in Rwanda for instance the spring festival and the Chinese new year that was celebrated this year in Kigali with performances, and giving bursaries to Rwandans to go to China to further their studies.