Chinese language learners in Zimbabwe on Friday showcased their passion and enthusiasm for Chinese language and culture at the 22nd edition of the Chinese Bridge competition held at the University of Zimbabwe in Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe.
The "Chinese Bridge" is an annual worldwide international competition in which non-Chinese students demonstrate their comprehensive ability to use the Chinese language and their knowledge of Chinese culture.
The contestants from primary and secondary schools, as well as colleges across Zimbabwe, impressed a diverse audience of Chinese and Zimbabwean nationals with their grasp of the Chinese language and their Chinese cultural performances.
Besides speech performances, the competition also included a quiz section to test participants' knowledge of China and a talent show in which they performed Chinese dances, martial arts, and songs.
Winners of the three categories of the competition received prize money. First-prize winners will be invited to the semi-final and final contests in China.
In his keynote address read on his behalf by Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities at the University of Zimbabwe Victor Mugari, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities Fainos Mangena said the widespread learning of the Chinese language in the country spearheaded by the Confucius Institute at the University of Zimbabwe (CIUZ) demonstrates the ties between China and Zimbabwe.
"We are glad to be part of this competition, as has been the case all along since the inception of Chinese teaching at the University of Zimbabwe, and the inception of the CIUZ," Mangena said. "As a country, we have enjoyed a cordial relationship with the People's Republic of China, and the establishment of the Confucius Institute at the University of Zimbabwe is a testimony to that."
Mangena also said Chinese language learners are part of a force that is advancing relations between China and Zimbabwe. "It is our hope that the winners today become the torchbearers in championing the education that is meant to change people's lives."
Mangena acknowledged the role that the Chinese Embassy in Zimbabwe is playing in supporting the teaching of Chinese.
To promote the learning of the Chinese language in Zimbabwe, the University of Zimbabwe became one of the first institutions of higher learning in Africa to host a Confucius Institute in 2006, and to date, more than 16,000 students have attended Chinese language classes.