The International Chinese Language Day is observed annually on April 20. This event was established by the United Nations (UN) Department of Public Information in 2010 to celebrate multilingualism and cultural diversity, as well as to promote equal use of all six of its official working languages throughout the United Nations. On this day, people honour the Chinese language and its rich history. The Chinese Language Day was selected from Guyu (which translates to “Rain of Millet”), the 6th of 24 solar terms in traditional Chinese calendars. It is for this reason that Green Technology Confucius Institute (GTCI) at the University of Venda created a platform to celebrate this day. The celebration took place at the Faculty of Health Sciences on Friday, 19 April 2024.

The Director Strategy Monitoring and Evaluation, Dr Mutshinyalo Ratombo (on the left photo), officially opened the International Chinese Language Day celebration at UNIVEN. When welcoming new students who are participating in Chinese language class, lecturers, and distinguished guests, he mentioned that the University of Venda’s Memorandum of Understanding with Hubei University of Technology was signed in 2019, which led to the launch of the Green Technology Confucius Institute (GTCI) in December 2023. Dr Ratombo emphasised the importance of cultural exchange and language training between UNIVEN and Chinese colleagues. He also highlighted the importance of connection between language and culture.

The Co-Director of GTCI, Prof Grace GE (middle photo in the previous page) when outlining the purpose of the event, said that while the UN originally aimed to promote multilingualism and cultural diversity, the UNIVEN event hoped to increase a better understanding of the Chinese language and the UNIVEN culture. The event featured displays of Chinese handicrafts, books, food, sports and games, calligraphy and paintings, and a Chinese store where participants had the opportunity to enjoy and learn from a variety of cultural activities. A third year UNIVEN Nutrition student and SUSI alumna, Ms Ndalamo Hope Siaga (on the right photo in the previous page) spoke about the value of wellness and health, stressing that a person’s diet reflects their overall health. In light of the possibility of employment in China, she urged students to learn about the Chinese food culture, how the Chinese prepare nutritious meals, what methods they use and what kind of food they eat to promote their good well-being through healthy eating. She cautioned her peers to take note of what is happening on the day. She advised other students to look out for available scholarships.

Mulalo Bianca Malada (on the left photo), spoke on behalf of students who are learning the Chinese Language at GTCI. The Chinese language classes at GTCI officially kick-started with 320 registered participants on 18 March 2024. Bianca indicated that she is enjoying learning the Chinese language and she even greeted the audience and expressed her wishes in Chinese language fluently. Another GTCI Chinese language student representative, Relective Rikhotso (on the right photo above) performed the traditional Chinese Nunchakus and spurred waves of applause from the audience.

Mr Thabo Dikgale, Partnership Officer in the International Relations and Partnerships Directorate (on the left photo) emphasised the importance of exploring and understanding other cultures to gain self-awareness and refrain from prioritising other’ cultures. People enjoying tasting Chinese food (on the right photo above).

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University of Venda
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