Chinese writing contest held in Zimbabwe

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HARARE,– A Chinese writing competition for Zimbabwean students was held in Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe, Friday.

Students from primary, and high schools and colleges showcased their writing skills and understanding of the Chinese language and culture at the first edition of the Chinese Character Hero Competition, organized by the Confucius Institute at the University of Zimbabwe (CIUZ). They were expected to write, read and match Chinese characters with pictures.

In his opening remarks at the competition, Fainos Mangena, the University of Zimbabwe executive dean of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, said the competition resonates with the university’s strategic objectives such as community outreach and talent identification.

“As a university, we are glad to be part of this competition because it gives us a platform for our students from various levels of Chinese proficiency to showcase their knowledge of Chinese characters,” said Mangena. “It is quite an impressive feat to see young learners from our primary schools enthusiastically taking part in this competition.”

Due to the ever-growing importance of Chinese, the language is part of a university-wide module including other foreign languages, he noted.

The first-prize winner of the university student segment, William Kamuchuruka, who is currently learning Chinese at CIUZ, said while reading and writing Chinese characters is challenging, knowing their historical background makes the learning process interesting.

“Every character has its history, every character has a certain story to it, and that makes learning characters interesting,” said Kamuchuruka. “If you are a person who likes to acquire a lot of knowledge on things, this makes you really want to find out more about them, and to know more about the background and history of characters.”

Rutendo Ndoma, the first prize winner of the high school student segment, said although learning to write Chinese characters is challenging, it is fun, especially with an appreciation of the culture.

“I like studying Chinese because there is something about the culture. The culture is so deep and it involves so many aspects that cannot be understood at first glance, so I really enjoy studying it because it helps me to really understand that cultures are different, but there is always something that ties different cultures together,” she said.

The CIUZ has been promoting Chinese culture in Zimbabwe since it was founded in 2007. Since then, many primary and high schools in Zimbabwe have introduced Chinese language lessons.

Source: Xinhua