On 10 May, about 200 distinguished guests, contestants, students and their relatives gather in Jameson Hall of UCT to witness the 13th “Chinese Bridge” competition in South Africa. Prof. Nhlapo, the DVC of UCT, Prof. Kalula, director of IAPO attended the competition and addressed the audience. The Chinese Consul General, Mr. Liang Shugen, was also present at the competition. 21 students from 4 universities in South Africa participated in the competition. Before the competition started, the Consul General, Mr. Liang, had friendly talks with our students, and was very impressed by their Chinese.
Through two rounds of competition, 2 contestants won the first prize and will participate in the final of “Chinese Bridge” competition in China in July this year. Luyolo Sijake, a UCT student, convinced the judges and the Hunan television crew with his eloquent speech, dramatic singing of a current Chinese pop song, and his excellent presentation as one of the Masters of Ceremony, to come up on top and receive the first prize. It is the first time that UCT student of Chinese will debut in China.
The “Chinese Bridge” competition started from 2002, each year, about 100 students from all over the world are brought to Changsha, China for the magnificent final stage, after they win the top awards in their respective countries. The final is broadcast live on CCTV. It will produce a top winner for the five continents of Asia, Africa, Europe, the Americas and the Oceania; and the final six contestants will receive top prizes. The Stellenbosch students have been winning the first prize at the Preliminary in SA and going to China for the final representing this country for the past years. This year, it is expected that Luyolo may perform much better when he is in China for the final. During Saturday’s competition, Luyolo’s father was sitting quietly at the back of the audience. Attending Saturdays competition were not only our 12 contestants, but many students of Chinese in the past three years were all there to celebrate our party, and quite a few parents, too.
Since the offering of credit-bearing courses in Chinese in 2011 at SLL, the Confucius Institute has brought the fascinating language and culture to UCT students, and has been well received. Our students make rapid progress in just over three years, despite the fact that we still don’t offer third-year and honor courses at the moment. Of the 21 contestants on Saturday, 12 are UCT students, and many of them did very well. Two students, Patrick Sellier and Lauren Maris, impressed the judges so much that they all praised their mastery of Chinese and said they might also qualified for the top prize. Other students, like Kate Gardy and Jutin Chadva, have only studied Chinese for over a year, but could deliver a speech in Chinese fluently. Even the first year student, such as Martin Mossmer and Somila Dondashe, who were only given a short time to prepare, received warm applauses from the judges and audience.
Prof. Nhlapo, Prof. Kalula and other distinguished guests at the competition.
Luyolo (left) and Lauren (right), students from UCT, announcing the beginning of the competition in Jameson Hall.
Luyolo, who won the first prize, is making his speech in Chinese.