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Cape Town Police Keeps Enthusiasm in Learning Chinese

Each time, the meeting room is packed with the participants of the course, the six officers from Claremont always sit at the front, they are all senior and high-ranking, and study very hard.

Hu Peipei, our volunteer teacher, is leading the students in practice

Li Yang is helping the learners from the airport Border Police and from Kuisrivier.


With the launch of the first Chinese course for SA police in Cape Town on 14 January, 2014, the police are gathering continuous fervor in learning the language and culture through the course, which is offered by the Confucius Institute at UCT, as instructed by the Headquarters of Confucius Institute, with consultation with the Ministry of Public Security in China. The Cape Town Chinese Community Police Forum co-ordinates with the Cape Grand China for using their space as the venue for the course.

At the opening, Major General S. Nyalungu encourage the participants to make good use of the opportunity to ‘empower’ themselves with a new language so that to broaden the perspective and improve themselves. Six police clusters and two units send their people to take the course: Claremont, Milnerton, Bellville, Delft, the Metropolitan, and Kruisrivier; and the Border Police at Cape Town International Airport, Cape Town Law Enforcement. These areas have more Chinese businesses or communities located there, and the police have to cope with increasing criminal cases related to the local Chinese. Of all the participants, some are senior officers at the ranks of captain and warrant officers, some are younger constables. The assistant chief and chief inspectors from Cape Town Law Inforcement and the captains and warrants from Claremont are all senior officers, while some are young people, such as those from the border police. They speak different mother tongues, yet are all very serious at learning Chinese, and learn the sounds, simple greetings, self introduction and questioning in Chinese very quickly.

There have been some people who joined the course after the opening, and the total number of participants now reaches 37, and our volunteers had to give their textbooks to them each time the new student joined us.

The participants are all equipped with at least several years of work experience, and have been involved in cases related to local Chinese, which makes them greatly interested, highly motivated, and strongly attracted to the study of Chinese language and culture. Each time they are punctual, some arrived half an hour before time, and when time is over, many are still reading and asking questions. Wilkins, Mockey, Wentink and other senior officers always sit on the front row, close to the teacher, Roberts Marcus from Rondebosch is in charge of taking the teachers to the venue, so he goes to Forest Hill each time earlier to pick them up, and take them back after class. 

The Confucius Institute at UCT gives great emphasis to running this course, and while the local director is still being decided, they put in all the teachers, select the right materials, produce interesting power point slides, manage the class well and divide the students into three groups. The course is taught in a lecture for all, followed by practice and questions in groups, and the three volunteer teachers take charge of one group each in leading them in practice. As to lecturing, focus is made at exact and clear explanation in English and inclusive introduction of all language points. Our volunteer teachers are all master graduates from Sun Yat-sen University who major in teaching Chinese as a foreign language, and have all received intensive training by the headquarters before being dispatched. This make it that we do not simply supply a teacher for the CCPF, but are fully in charge of the course.

The Cape Town Customs officers had also inspect the course and indicated their interest of joining, while the Confucius Institute is willing to offer a new course for officers at the Customs in the near future.

The Delft cluster also suggested that they have a soccer game with the Chinese community on a Saturday, so as to promote friendship and prevent crime in the area.