A local student (R) serves Chinese tea to visitors at Chinese cultural exhibitions organized by the Confucius Institute at the College of Education of the University of Rwanda, Remera campus, in Kigali, Rwanda, Sept. 23, 2022. (Photo by Cyril Ndegeya/Xinhua )
Braving the scorching sun in the Rwandan capital Kigali on Friday, a mostly young crowd attended Chinese cultural exhibitions at the University of Rwanda with shows ranging from Chinese literature, calligraphy, dance music, traditional costumes, cuisine and Chinese kung fu.
KIGALI, Sept. 25 (Xinhua) — A crowd made up mostly of young people braved the scorching sun in Rwanda’s capital Kigali on Friday and attended Chinese cultural exhibitions at the University of Rwanda with shows featuring Chinese literature, calligraphy and dance music handed, costume, kitchen to Chinese kung fu.
The afternoon began with a rousing performance of kungu fu, or martial arts, which quickly became a crowd puller at the cultural exhibits. The participants, both boys and girls, stunned the crowd with vigorous and tactical maneuvers.
Some visitors stood while others sat on the lawn, waving and applauding participants in the show, organized by the Confucius Institute at the University of Rwanda’s College of Education, Remera campus.
A few meters away, a crowd gathered in front of the Chinese folk costumes on display, which were also among the most popular activities at the exhibitions.
Attendees included university students, people from the community, and high school students from select schools across the city.
Didacienne Mugwaneza, a third-year food science and technology student at the University of Rwanda’s College of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine, said Chinese costumes were “particularly beautiful,” while Marie Reine Nyinawabera, a plant sciences student, said she was from the martial arts impressed.
As visitors moved from one booth to another, they could ask booth managers questions about Chinese cultural representation or try the activities themselves.
The institute invited selected students taking Chinese classes to join them in explaining Chinese culture to the visitors. Chinese drawing on paper was hotly contested at one of the stands.
As an added bonus, visitors could take home gifts after completing various challenges of the exhibition.
Several tasks were prepared for the participants, including saying a blessing, singing a Chinese song, writing calligraphy, playing a set of boxes, making paper cutting, making a Chinese handicraft, and brewing a pot of tea.
“It’s my honor to share about Chinese culture with fellow students and the community,” Desire Rukundo Gakuru, one of the participating students, told Xinhua. “We are very happy and excited when many people come to learn about Chinese culture.”
Gakuru, 26, took part in teaching people how to draw on paper.
It was his first time to visit the exhibition, but he enjoyed it. The public health student began taking Chinese classes in 2018, but these have been put on hold by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Local students taste Chinese tea while visiting Chinese cultural exhibitions organized by the Confucius Institute at the University of Rwanda’s College of Education, Remera campus, in Kigali, Rwanda, Sept. 23, 2022. (Photo by Cyril Ndegeya/Xinhua)
Gakuru especially likes Chinese tea and art. He hopes to take on translation jobs once he learns Chinese, but it could also give him an edge in seeking an education scholarship in China.
Ketia Muhizi, a seventh-grade student at Green Hills Academy, admitted that she didn’t know much about Chinese culture at first. “The exhibition was enlightening as we learned a lot about Chinese culture, it’s amazing! You can appreciate their influence around the world,” she said.
“Chinese culture is a treasure trove worth exploring, and today’s event is a good opportunity for all of us,” Chinese Ambassador to Rwanda Wang Xuekun said on the occasion. “As long as two peoples enjoy affinity, future China-Rwanda relations will surely develop,” he said.
Wang praised Rwanda as an open and dynamic society ready to explore a foreign culture.
Citing patriotism and unity in diversity, the ambassador noted that Chinese and Rwandan cultures are closely related.
“Patriotism is an important feature of Chinese culture. The Chinese love their country and are proud of their culture. Building a strong nation, achieving prosperity and bringing people a better life has always been the top consensus among Chinese people. On that level we are the same and we understand you,” he said, adding that every Rwandan he knows also has a deep passion for their country and culture.
Zeng Guangyu, director of the Confucius Institute at the University of Rwanda, said language and culture sometimes come together.
“We invited the local community to participate so they can see, touch and feel the experiences. Secondary school students taking Chinese classes, for example, learn it from textbooks, but the exhibition gives them a chance to see the culture,” he said. ■