As China continues to invest and make its presence felt in Africa more and more Namibians are showing an interest in learning the Chinese language. This is according to two Chinese volunteer teachers of the Chinese language at the Confucius Institute at the University of Namibia.
“We have more than 100 students who are learning Chinese. More Chinese are coming to Namibia for business and so in return the students are interested to learn about the Chinese culture, language and way of life,” said Ellen Wang Yixuan, who teaches at the Rundu and Hifikepunye Pohamba campuses.
She says with the Chinese investing heavily in Africa, including Namibia, communication is very important for mutual understanding. “Students are eager to learn Chinese, because they are eager to contribute to the mutual friendship between Namibia and China,” Yixuan explained.
Chen Nan, also a volunteer teacher of the Chinese language, added that the Chinese economy has a major influence on Africa and China is interested in penetrating the African market, hence the reciprocal interest by Namibians in learning the language. “Most students are good at pronouncing the words in Chinese,” Nan enthused.
However, many of them struggle with mastering the characters, because the characters are very different from what they are used to,” she further explained.
“Besides teaching Chinese we encourage the students to travel to China, and we offer scholarships and various other programmes that help the students to easily master the language,” Yixuan said.
The Confucius Institute was established in 2013 and more than 700 students at Unam, as well as those who are not registered university students had the opportunity to register at the institute in order to learn the Chinese language.