The Confucius Institute at Stellenbosch University (CISU) received news yesterday that one of the university’s very own students, Iola Meyer, won first place in the 21st Chinese Bridge Proficiency Competition for Foreign College Students in South Africa, an internationally hailed Chinese proficiency competition! This marks the first time in five years that Stellenbosch University is bestowed this honour.
Hosted by the Chinese Embassy of South Africa at the University of Johannesburg, it was attended by some big names, including His Excellency Chen Xiaodong (Chinese Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Republic of South Africa), Prof. Tshilidzi Marwala (Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Johannesburg), Prof. Huang Wei (President of Asia Pacific Engineering Federation and Academician of Chinese Academy of Sciences), Mr Tang Zhongdong (Consul General of Chinese Consulate General in Johannesburg), Mr Li Xudong (Education Counsellor, Chinese Embassy in South Africa) and Mr Chen Kan (Deputy General Manager of Huawei South Africa).
The significance of the Chinese Bridge Competition is two-fold. As many would attest, language lies at the heart of a culture and thus broadens the horizons of those who seek to learn it. These insights bring secondary benefits in that they facilitate exchange and cooperation between the people of China and South Africa.
The theme of this year’s event was aptly named "One World, One Family" and was live-streamed. All 6 Confucius Institutes and 2 Confucius Classrooms around the country watched in anticipation as their students strived to do their best in the three areas: 1. a written test (general knowledge test), 2. a speech (speaking test), and 3. Talent show (dramatic or artistic performance). Much to the excitement of the CISU, Iola Meyer achieved full marks in the written component, charmed the judges with her shadow puppet rendition of "Chang'e Flying to the Moon" and was awarded “The Huawei Cup”.
Iola Meyer, Chinese name “Mei Xiaoai”, expressed her thanks to her teachers both at CISU and at SU’s Department of Modern Foreign Languages. She adds, “even if you don't come first, you will definitely still 'win' in experience”.
The CISU hopes that the students of South Africa continue to avail themselves of this wonderful opportunity in years to come. It can only enrich us all, and truly bring about "One World, One Family".