Two Namibian students who are proficient in Chinese are off to Beijing, China in July.
This is after emerging winners of the 15th Chinese-Bridge Proficiency Competition held recently at the Embassy of People’s Republic of China in Windhoek. The competition by the Chinese Embassy in Namibia in collaboration with the Confucius Institute (CI) at the University of Namibia (UNAM) was hosted for foreign college students under the theme: ‘Dreams enlighten the future’.
Ten Unam students from different campuses participated in the competition. They were required to demonstrate their language proficiency in Chinese by answering quizzes and also singing, playing an instrument or dancing to show their understanding of Chinese culture.
Siegfried Klepach, the first winner of the competition, said practicing was not easy. He used to go through his script every day with assistance from his lecturer. “It was a new experience. It is difficult to pronounce so I repeated the song I sang and the script I presented over and over,” he said.
Klepach added that learning a new language is an advantage, saying he enjoyed the competition and those that did not win must not feel like they lost because they all had learned a lot from preparing their presentations. “It is an experience I would repeat over and over again,” said Klepach.
Second winner Simbarashe Chitenderu said he used to read his speech every day and tried to recite it so that he could get comfortable with the words and the pauses between entences. He also got a lot of encouragement from family and friends who helped him rehearse.
“I tried to listen and sing along with the song to get used to it,” said Chitenderu.
“We spoke, performed and answered questions in Mandarin, a difficult language in a competition. All this in front of an audience and that alone should be something tobe proud of. We should continue to learn the language, as it will be a major asset in the future,” noted Chitenderu.
Another winner Christator Musamadya, who took 3rd prize, said she used to spend about four to six hours every week with her lecturer to prepare for the competition. “I would record my self singing and saying the speech, so I could hear how it was to listen to me and would correct myself where I had some wrong pronunciation,” she said.
One of the participants that did not win, Marigaleta Matheus, said although she did not win taking part in the competition was a valuable experience that she will never forget. “It’s not a loss, after all we are learning a language that is something itself. Not winning is not the end of the world. Life is a journey, there is always next time,” Matheus enthused.
The first and second winners both won a trip to Beijing, China in July for another proficiency competition with competitors from all over the world for the first winner.