Stellenbosch University celebrates the Chinese year of wealth, courage and good luck

The Chinese year of the Dragon signifies prosperity, courage and good fortune. This year, Stellenbosch University hosted its festive celebrations on Wednesday 29 March 2012 at the Academia Hall. The co-organisers of the event, the Postgraduate & International Office (PGIO) and Confucius Institute at Stellenbosch University (CISU), were particularly impressed with a good turnout of more than 240 South African and international students, staff and members of the public.

The year of the Dragon, celebrated in a cycle of 12 years as part of the Chinese Zodiac, is considered auspicious since its attributes are those of wealth, courage and good luck. Director of the PGIO and Co-Director of the CISU, Mr. Robert Kotze, shared some Chinese adage at the event: qualities of people born in the year of the Dragon are those of self-confidence, perfectionism, innovation and enterprising. It is also usually associated with regal qualities and high nobility: travel to The Forbidden City, China, and you will find Dragon insignia emblazoning many of the King’s Chinese artifacts.

While the evening comprised of traditional Chinese food, song and games usually associated with the Year of the Dragon, it was also a good opportunity to showcase the involvement and impact of Confucius Institutes worldwide. It is the fifth year that Stellenbosch University hosts such Chinese celebrations, since the establishment of the CISU in 2007. With more than 400 Confucius Institutes worldwide, the overall objective is to teach Mandarin and to promote Chinese cultural activities.

Stellenbosch University and the Stellenbosch community at large have been a significant part of the CISU focus: three primary schools in the Stellenbosch area (Rietenbosch, Rhenish Girls and Helderberg International) undertake Chinese acquisition classes, while Stellenbosch University also proudly started its first postgraduate Mandarin degree in 2012, following the successes of Mandarin at undergraduate level in years before.

Mr. Kotze explains that Stellenbosch can look forward to many more Chinese projects, amongst which will be the continuation of teaching in the primary schools, Chinese language and culture classes for students, staff and members of the public and the annual Chinese Bridge competition.

More information on Confucius Institutes worldwide, Chinese scholarships, the CISU and other Chinese activities, can be found on the website of the CISU (