Chinese student art troupe strengthens culture exchange in Kenya

By EDITH MUTETHYA | China Daily | Updated: 2017-10-07 04:18

Chinese student art troupe strengthens culture exchange in Kenya

Zhou Yian, Liu Runging and Hu Meng from Donghua University play Chinese zither also known as guzheng, during Kenyan and Chinese youth artistic performance held at the Confucius institute of University of Nairobi. [Photo by Edith Mutethya/China Daily]

The student art troupe of Donghua University in Shanghai on Friday treated Kenyan university and secondary school students to thrilling performances of Chinese folk music at the Confucius Institute of the University of Nairobi.

The students performed percussion, wind, plucked string, bowed string and ensemble music.

Zhang Xiaodong, director of Donghua University's Art Education Center, said the group from China consisted of 16 students and 4 teachers.

Prior to the Friday's performance, Zhang said the troupe had performed at Moi, Egerton and Kenyatta universities.

"This is the first time that a Chinese university student art group has given a performance in Kenya," he said.

Speaking of the event, Liu Xianfa, the Chinese ambassador to Kenya, said a solid foundation of friendship and mutual understanding could occur through exchanges of language, culture and arts.

"With the growth of China-Kenya bilateral relations, people in both countries have become more eager than ever to know each other. As a Chinese saying goes, the key to sound relations between states lies in the amity between the people," he said.

Liu noted that friendship and goodwill between people provide a strong driving force for the long-term growth of bilateral relations.

"I really appreciate the Donghua University Art Troupe for bringing us traditional Chinese music and the valuable contributions made by University of Nairobi and the local Confucius institutes," he said.

Liu said more such events should be held to strengthen the long-standing China-Kenya friendship.

Chinese student art troupe strengthens culture exchange in Kenya

Donghua University students perform folk music ensemble during Kenyan and Chinese youth artistic performance held at the Confucius Institute of University of Nairobi. [Photo by Edith Mutethya/China Daily]

Peter Mbithi, vice-chancellor of the University of Nairobi, said cultural events are playing a key role in strengthening the relationship between Kenya and China. He said the performance by the student art troupe was the fourth one held at the Confucius Institute.

Lin Yi, one of the student artists, said she loved the passion that Kenyans have demonstrated. She said that she is willing to return to the country as a volunteer after she completes her education next year to train them on playing the Erhu, also known as the Chinese violin, and to teach them about Chinese culture.

Prior to coming to Kenya, Lin said, she had a perception that Africa was a grassland continent with animals roaming everywhere and that people wore animal skin as clothes. However, she will go back home with a different perception about the continent.

"Africans are quite open and outspoken and can clearly express their feelings. This is contrary to the Chinese who are a bit reserved. That is why some of my classmates here in the ensemble call this the 'liberation of the natural side'," she said.

Lin has been playing Erhu for the last 14 years – after joining the kindergarten.

Vincent Lembo, a student at the University of Nairobi said the performance was amazing and would love to attend another similar event.

"I also loved how the local Confucius Institute students presented Chinese songs and I'm motivated to enroll in the institute," he said.

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