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Students in a South African school learn mandarin

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A lot of activities going on there. Its actually the year of China in South Africa. And many are using their love of Mandarin to celebrate all year round.

These South African students have all gone to China to compete in Mandarin language competitions. And none of them could be prouder.

Jethro Federicks, a Confucius class school student

"Going to China was to be quite honest an indescribable experience. We were in China to represent our country in a Mandarin speaking competition and we did actually quite well. We came first in our continent and we came fourth out of 65 teams, which is pretty good. Considering that most of the other teams didn't take us very seriously. They did't think we'd actually make it that far. And I was quite proud to be a South African at that very moment," said Jethro Federicks, a Confucius class school student.

The Cape Academy focuses mainly on Maths, Science and Technology. But in 2010, it started teaching Mandarin and sending some of their pupils over to China to gain more cultural and educational experience since 2010.

"Why I'm learning Mandarain is because I love China and I love Chinese culture. If I learn more Mandarin, in future I will have a brilliant job overseas," said Kyle Hendreicks, a Confucius class school student.

 "China is one of the largest growing economies. And being able to communicate with people who speak Mandarin or Chinese will be a big advantage to get a job," said Mish-al Jamie, a Confucius class school student.

"Studying Mandarin is really amazing for me, because there's a strong friendship which is growing between SA nd China. Right? And it has taught me a lot from a cultural point-of-view. And the respect that one has to have for the different nations," said Vuyelwa Nzimamg, a Confucius class school student.

"I'm extremely proud of my kids. I've seen them grow in stature and we gained tremendously from this programme. And we're very happy to say that with our partner school in China, we've made a renewal of our commitment for the next three years," said Gregory Van Schalkwyk, the school principal.

Students can see the potential economic benefits of studying Mandarin. But they also want to play an active role in Chinese culture in general.

"I've been educated here. So, I just love SA, the culture and the kids here. So to be a Mandarin teacher, I learnt from students as well. So I enjoyed it. It's really awesome as well," said a teacher named Gao Li.

My father is Chinese and my mother is SAfrican. And I would like to explore the Chinese culture. And because I'm half SAfrican and I'm half Chinese, I think that this is gonna be an amazing year of Chinese in South Africa," said Chang Li, a Confucius class school student.

These South African students have all gone to China to compete in Mandarin language competitions. And none of them could be prouder.

2016-06-21

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