By Duncan Mlanjira
The Chinese Embassy organised a colourful and mesmerising celebration of its Chinese New Year held at Malawi University of Science & Technology (MUST) in Thyolo on Tuesday, January 14 where Deputy Ambassador Wang Xiusheng said this tradition fosters the continued diplomatic partnership that exists between Malawi and China.
Xiusheng said they decided to hold the event at MUST as opposed to having it in the Capital City in Lilongwe or Mzuzu as was being done in the past because MUST is a testimony of friendship between China and Malawi and carries the expectations of the people from both countries.
“The Embassy decided to bring the 2020 Happy Chinese New Year to MUST also to inspire in the young minds of the students the promotion of cultural exchanges between our two countries.
“The large population of talents here at MUST gives us a perfect opportunity to fulfill this ambition,” he said.
MUST was built with donor funding from the Chinese government and some of its students benefit for scholarships for further studies in China.
On its African tour, the Chinese cultural troupe — Sichuan Song and Dance Theatre — from the Sichuan Province treated students, staff and other invited guests to a mesmerising performance.
The moment the performances started with a lovely choreographed dance named Liuliu Kangding, the students that filled the entertainment auditorium erupted in cheers and ovations and immediately set the mellow mood for the celebration.
What followed was totally mesmerising and the whole auditorium erupted in frenzy as they were held to spellbound songs, acrobatics, kungfu displays and magic performances.
The highlight was when a Chinese performer took to the stage and sang ‘Amaona Kuchedwa’ — the popular song done by Malawi’s revered performing artist, Lawi.
It attracted a standing ovation even from the dignitaries that included the Deputy Ambassador Xiusheng, Principal Secretary in the ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture Chauncy Simwaka, MUST Vice Chancellor Address Malata among others, who sang along with the performer.
Not to be outdone, a Malawian Sambang’oma Cultural Troupe invited to spice up the occasion, gave an enlivened performance that inspired Xiusheng, Simwaka, Malata and the other dignitaries to start throwing money at the stage, popularly known as ‘kusupa’, that even the students joined in.
It was an hour of uttermost entertainment that was wrapped up with a lovely ‘Happy New Year’ song by the Chinese Sichuan Song and Dance Theatre.
In his remarks, Xiusheng also applauded MUST for being the only school of having a culture and arts through the Bingu School of Culture & Heritage.
“In English, MUST means means something you have to do. For the young students, your MUST is to inherit and promote the unique culture of Malawi and to bring your motherland a brighter future.”
He encouraged the students to utilize every opportunity on campus and not to stop their pursuit of truth, dream and excellence.
“I sincerely wish every one of you a great success in serving your country in the days to come because you are not only the future of Malawi, but also the future of our bilateral relations,” the Deputy Ambassador said.
PS Simwaka recognised that the Sichuan Song and Dance Theatre tour of Malawi not only presents and showcases China’s arts and culture but it also gives the group to learn more of Malawi’s.
“The ongoing collaboration of cultural visits by our two countries gives us an opportunity to reflect on the sound and strong diplomatic relationship between Malawi and the People’s Republic of China.
“Just as with the rest of African countries, the Malawi-China relation has been founded under the key principles of equality and mutual trust — a win-win economic operation and a people to people exchange of cultures,” Simwaka said.
China and Malawi also has a partnership programme called ‘The Seed for the Future’, introduced by Chinese mobile phone service provider Huawei Technologies Limited in which it sends Malawian youths to China as a life changing encounter which introduces the students to the world class information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure and hands on experience and skills.
The programme was introduced in 2015 and its 4th cohort had 10 Malawian ICT students who were chosen from various public universities, including MUST.
The Seed for the Future program is carried out as a human resource development partnership between Huawei and the Malawi Government.