Excellent learners of Chinese language from the Confucius Institute at University of Namibia ( UNAM) were awarded the Chinese Ambassador Cup on Wednesday.
Initiated by the institute and the Chinese embassy in Namibia, the award aims to encourage students to work harder in learning Chinese language and culture.
Professor Lazarus Hangula, Vice Chancellor of UNAM, called the first batch of students of Confucius Institute "pioneers" in his speech at the award ceremony.
"It is not easy for pioneers to do things. But you are making history. And I am sure you will not say that you have made a mistake in making this decision," said Hangula, encouraging the students to learn China's experience in development by starting to learn the language.
First-prize winner Idda A. Shikangala, who gave herself the Chinese name Yiren, or beautiful lady, was able to deliver her speech in Chinese at the award ceremony after learning the language for merely ten months.
"I found the language more interesting when I learnt that 'long time no see' actually derived from Chinese," said Shikangala.
Shikangala said that she liked challenging herself by learning different languages. Besides Chinese, she is also learning French and Portuguese.
Her excellence in learning Chinese language has also won her the opportunity to join a summer camp in China this year, which will be sponsored by Hanban, the headquarters of Confucius Institute.
According to Zhang Sufang, Director of the Confucius Institute at UNAM, the institute has attracted over 100 learners since it was officially launched in August 2013 based on cooperation agreements between UNAM and China University of Geosciences ( Beijing). It offers courses of basic and advanced standard Mandarin, and is preparing to become a certified center for testing Chinese Language proficiency.
Currently there are about 30 Confucius institutes in Africa and more than 400 institutes worldwide.