Spring Festival gain popularity in African region

AFRICA: Since Jan 18, many African countries in conjunction with the Chinese embassies, Chinese communities, Confucius Institutes and local enterprises have organized several events to mark Chinese New Year, also known as Spring Festival or Lunar New Year.
In South Africa, Tanzania, Kenya, Botswana and Mauritius, among others, hundreds of local people attended events organized to mark the festivities, getting an opportunity to enjoy Chinese culture and traditions.
In Kenya, Two Rivers Mall organized 5-day events and exhibitions, including a Chinese cultural center and costumes photo booth, kids’ Zodiac center, Chinese cuisine, a Chinese wishing tree, Chinese art class, New Year’s dragon and lion dances, attracting many local fans.
Two Rivers Mall organized the events in conjunction with the Chinese embassy in Kenya, the Confucius Institute at the University of Nairobi and the Erdemann Chinese Culture Centre.
Janet Wayua, who attended the events on Saturday with her three children, could not hide her excitement. She also had an opportunity to enjoy the 50 percent discount offers on goods by the mall. “I love the Chinese culture, and this was a good opportunity to learn more with my children. I was happy to sample Chinese cuisine and learn the story behind dumplings,” she said.
Wayua expressed gratitude to the deepening relationship between China and Kenya that has exposed rich Chinese culture to the locals. She wished Kenya could take a page from China’s book on developing local culture and traditions.
In South Africa, several Chinese and locals gathered at Nelson Mandela Square in Johannesburg on Jan 19 to celebrate Chinese New Year.
The attendees were entertained by dances, music, acrobatics, a Kung Fu show, a Chinese tea art show and Sichuan opera mask-changing.
Lin Songtian, Chinese ambassador to South Africa, said the event was key in building the relationship between the two countries and also gave an opportunity to local people to learn about Chinese culture. On the previous day the Chinese embassy in Pretoria organized a similar event, bringing together hundreds of guests including senior government officials, political activists, academics and school children among others. Tanzanians joined their Chinese friends in celebrating the New Year on Jan 19 at the Chinese-built Julius Nyerere International Convention Centre in the commercial capital Dar es Salaam. George Simbachawene, the minister of state in the vice-president’s office, commended China for pulling 700 million people out of poverty in the last 40 years.
Simbachawene said Tanzania has many lessons to learn from China, not only on poverty eradication, but also in the fight against corruption. “In recent years mutual political trust between the two countries has deepened, and exchanges and cooperation between governments, political parties and legislatures have become closer,” Simbachawene told Xinhua.
Zhao Yanbo, the Chinese ambassador to Botswana, hosted guests and the Chinese community at a reception and art performance in the Gaborone International Convention Center on Jan 21 as part of the Spring Festival celebrations. – The Daily Mail-China Daily News exchange item