Stellenbosch students qualify for the 11th International Chinese Bridge Competition

The South African preliminary round of the Chinese Bridge Competition was held at Boland College, in Stellenbosch on Saturday 5 May 2012.

The Chinese Bridge competition is an international Chinese culture and language promoting endeavour, where Chinese language and culture students from Higher Education Institutions worldwide compete in various categories. In order to qualify, participants have to comply with a certain set of criteria: they should be born in a country outside of China, be of non-Chinese nationality, study Mandarin (Chinese language) as a non-native language and be younger than 30 years of age.


Students from all over the world who meet the criteria participate in their home countries where Confucius Institutes are hosted, and then compete against finalists from other countries for several prizes, of which the first is a scholarship to pursue any degree at any one of the 100 Chinese universities that recognize the scholarship.


The competition consists of traditional Chinese activities ranging from delivering Chinese speeches, Taiji (and other martial art forms) and dances to reciting Chinese poetry and some even performing karaoke. The SA preliminary round held on Saturday was no different: students from Stellenbosch University, Rhodes University, the University of Cape Town and UNISA competed in the abovementioned categories.


In addition to building an academic and competitive spirit in students during their acquisition of Chinese language and the understanding of the culture, the Chinese Bridge Competition also holds diplomatic significance for both South Africa and China. Mr. Ghaleeb Jeppie, representing the Ministry of Education in South Africa, was interviewed by CCTV13, a news channel from China, during his attendance of the event in Stellenbosch and stated that he encourages the learning of Chinese and the understanding of the culture.


In attendance also were several distinguished dignitaries from the Chinese Consulate, the Educational Section of the Chinese Embassy, the Directors of the Confucius Institutes at Rhodes and UCT, Prof. Doug Rawlings, acting Vice rector: Research at Stellenbosch University and Mr. Robert Kotze and Prof. Zuo Xu Xie, Co-Directors of the Confucius Institute at Stellenbosch University.


The SA preliminary round culminated in a graceful performance of Taijiquan, a martial art form displayed by a Chinese Taijiquan teacher and his students who practice several days of the week in Stellenbosch. At the end, two Stellenbosch students were victorious, awarded a joint first prize and will be heading to China for the International segment of the competition towards the end of June / beginning of July: Lucas van Niekerk, a third year student BA (PPE), and Catherine Judith Dollman, pursuing her Honours study in Mandarin.




Article by Christopher Muller.