(Published - 14 May 2020)
Two students from the University of the Western Cape (UWC) have won this year’s Chinese Bridge Language Competition and will represent South Africa at the grand world final in China later in the year.
Shannah Rose Erasmus and Lauren Willenberg managed to stave off challenges from 13 other contestants from various South African universities to finish in first place at the 19th edition of the Chinese Bridge. First place is awarded to the two best contestants in the competition. The final was hosted online by UWC on 7 May 2020.
The Chinese Bridge is a Chinese language proficiency competition for students between the ages of 18 and 30 who are born and raised outside China, and whose native language is not Chinese. Initially sponsored by the headquarters of the Confucius Institute – before Longyuan South Africa Renewables Pty (Ltd) and Mulilo Company came on board – the contest judges Chinese proficiency in listening, speaking, reading and knowledge about China. In addition, there is a talent show which involves, among other things, singing Chinese songs, performing Chinese music, dance, acrobatics, calligraphy, painting, paper cutting, martial arts and tea presentation.
Due to COVID-19, the competition was held online, and Youtube Live attracted 538 audience members, and 48 University colleagues attended the Zoom meetings.
At the event, Professor José Frantz, UWC’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation, welcomed contestants and the audience. “The fight against this COVID-19 virus reminds us of the importance of language and intercultural communication skills, which the contestants will demonstrate beautifully today,” she said. “South African students compete hard with each other but will support each other to succeed, as they know what it takes to rise with hope from adversity, through knowledge”.
Professor Pamela Dube, Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Student Development and Support at UWC, said she was heartened by the event, which showcased the country’s future leaders.
In a video-recorded message from the Consulate General of China in Cape Town, Consul General Lin Jing expressed his sincere gratitude to UWC for the great support since the COVID-19 epidemic outbreak in China early this year. “I would like to encourage Chinese medicine to work together with the local medicine council to serve the local communities, especially at this difficult time”.
Ghaleeb Jeppie, Chief Director for International Relations at the Department of Higher Education and Training, spoke about how South Africa and China worked together to fight the COVID-19 epidemic since it spread to South Africa. “On behalf of higher education and training, I would like to see more South African university students involved with not only academic exchange with Chinese higher education, but also with arts and cultural events in future”.