The University of Johannesburg Confucius Institute (UJCI) in collaboration with the Culture Office, Embassy of China in South Africa hosted a celebration on Tuesday to ring in the 2022 Lunar New Year, which started on 1 February and ends on 11 February 2022.
Entertainment included traditional Chinese activities and various simulated performances.
Prof Saurabh Sinha, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Research and Internationalisation, discussed the importance of the Year of the Tiger celebration.
“The pandemic is difficult for all of us and hopefully the tiger will bring recovery from the pandemic and also allow in particular more travel to further strengthen collaboration between China and South Africa.”
Prof Sinha emphasised that education continues to place emphasis on thought paradigm of poverty, inequality, and unemployment. “We believe the UJCI will play an important role in scientific and industrial cooperation especially in the areas of sustainable energy, artificial intelligence (AI), and 5G.”
Official guests of the event were Mr Zhou Yong, Minister-Councillor of Culture Office, Embassy of China; Prof Nai Kang, Dierector of International Office, Nanjing Tech University, Prof Saurabh Sinha, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, UJ and Co-Directors of UJCI Dr David Monyae and Mr Li Baosheng.
Since 2016, the Confucius Institute has been providing Chinese language resources for international and domestic students, including Mandarin courses for university staff and students, members of other organisations as well as members of the public; administering international proficiency tests in Chinese, and organises events and exchanges aimed at promoting an understanding of Chinese language and culture and summer trips to China.
“As a Centre that promotes Chinese culture and language, it is important for us to hold a Lunar New Year celebration to share the holiday and its traditions with others,” said Li Baosheng, newly appointed Co-Director at UJCI. “This is my first Spring festival in South Africa and this years theme represents courage, independence and progress and it is a great honour to celebrate it with all of you.
This Lunar New Year marks the beginning of the Year of the Tiger. The Chinese Zodiac, an ancient system based on the lunar calendar, decides which animal will represent each new year.
Hlengiwe Gumede, UJ Biochemistry & Botany student, attended the event. She studies Mandarin and delivered a speech titled ‘Building a community with a shared future for mankind.’
“The experience of learning mandarin has brought a lot of changes in my life. I always feel welcomed and included within the Chinese community,” she said.
While many of the regular festivities planned during Lunar New Year have been upended due to the pandemic, those celebrating are still finding ways to mark the occasion and ready themselves for renewal in the year ahead.