By: Thoboloko Ntšonyane

MASERU – Tšepiso Tumane has won the Chinese Bridge competition last week at Machabeng College International School beating nine contestants and securing her ticket to China this October, where she will compete against contestants from around the world.

The Director of Confucius Classes at Machabeng College International School Ponšo Thatho said the purpose of the Confucius classes is to bridge the gap between the People’s Republic of China and Lesotho.

Thatho said this national competition has seen only Machabeng students participating, as it is the only school that offers Confucius language courses.

He added they are found in every country that has good relations with China.

The “Chinese Bridge” Chinese Proficiency Competition for Foreign Secondary School Students features participants who are middle school students aged 12-18 years.

These students are of non-Chinese nationality, born and raised in foreign countries, and their native language is not Chinese.

The competition includes the following components: Chinese language proficiency (listening, speaking, reading, and writing), knowledge of China’s national conditions, cultural skills (such as singing, dancing, folk arts, acrobatics, instrumental music, calligraphy, painting, paper-cutting, martial arts, and traditional sports), and comprehensive ability. The focus is on the contestants’ understanding and practical application of the Chinese language and culture through training.

The Counsellor of the Chinese Embassy Lyu Liangzhong highlighted that this year marks the 30th anniversary of the resumption of diplomatic relations between China and Lesotho adding that the Embassy will ensure support to teaching of Chinese language.

He added: “The Chinese Bridge proficiency competition has been a traditional good platform for foreign students to showcase their language skills. With China expanding opening-up to the world, thousands of Basotho people, many of which are young generation, have participated in the diploma and degree training as well as human resource training in China.”

The Counsellor went on to show that as the world is beset by wars and conflicts, it is crucial for people to pursue and practice rite and music through their lives, the world will be a ‘peaceful and happy’ place to live adding that Chinese language is a necessity for this endeavour.

For his part, the Acting Headmaster for Machabeng College International School Joy G. Magombedze said the Chinese Bridge is more than a competition but a symbol of unity, a bridge that connects the people of China with other nations.

“Through this event, we celebrate cultural exchange, mutual understanding, and forging of lasting friendships.  This unique opportunity opens countless doors for our students, providing them with invaluable skills and experiences that will serve them in our interconnected world,”  he said, adding that they pride themselves as the only school in the country that offers Confucius language courses.

The first prize for the winner is a smartphone, while the second prize winners walked away with tablets, and the third prize winners received smartwatches.

In 2023, the winner of the  Chinese Bridge competition Thatohatsi Moji traveled to China for two weeks where she met her counterparts from across the world and immersed herself in Chinese culture.