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Kenyan youth showcase language, culture skills in Chinese language proficiency contest

Xinhua | Updated: 2023-05-14 09:34

Kenyan students show the words "Chinese Day" written in Chinese with a brush during an event celebrating the upcoming UN Chinese Language Day at the Confucius Institute at the University of Nairobi, in Nairobi, Kenya, April 18, 2023. [Photo/Xinhua]

NAIROBI -- When he took to the podium to deliver a speech in Mandarin extolling the virtues of friendship and the pursuit of shared dreams, Amos Michira received thunderous applause from the audience thanks to his eloquence and stage presence.

The 21-year-old was declared the overall winner in the Kenyan division finals of the Chinese language proficiency contest for foreign college students held at the University of Nairobi on Friday.

Sharply dressed and with a glow on his face, Michira's oratory skills captured the attention of judges and audiences as he made a speech about enhanced Sino-Kenya cooperation in various fields.

Michira, who was born and raised in a farming town in northwestern Kenya, said that his passion for studying the Chinese language developed after he joined the University of Nairobi in 2021.

As a Chinese language major student at Confucius Institute in the University of Nairobi, Michira plans to learn the Chinese language up to postgraduate levels, as he believes that it will open doors for him to work in a cross-cultural environment.

Kenya held the contest against a backdrop of blossoming Sino-Kenya cultural ties. The 17 young contestants showcased their mastery of Chinese language, dance, and classical music during the contest.

During the first round of the competition, the contestants made speeches in Mandarin, elaborating on their views about the concept of building a community with a shared future for mankind.

In the second round that focused on talent shows, the contestants, clad in Chinese traditional regalia, demonstrated their prowess in Chinese dance and classical music.

Deborah Mukiri, an economics and statistics major at Egerton University, became a star attraction thanks to her splendid performance of a Chinese dance.

Currently pursuing the Chinese language as an optional course, Mukiri said that adequate preparation and confidence were behind her thrilling performance.

"Initially, I had some anxiety, but my teachers cheered me on, enabling me to deliver a performance that was well received by the audience," Mukiri said.

Impressed by the contestants' wonderful performances, Julius Ogeng'o, deputy vice-chancellor in charge of academic affairs at the University of Nairobi, said that grasping Mandarin has become crucial for securing well-paying jobs for the youth in a highly globalized workforce.

Bilshan Tamaha Keranga, a 25-year-old contestant from the University of Nairobi, said he looks forward to leveraging his proficiency in the Chinese language to venture into management consultancy, helping link up local youth with potential employers.

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