Seychelles celebrates Chinese Language Day |20 April 2021
Today Seychelles joins the rest of the world to celebrate international Chinese Language Day.
The day is observed annually on April 20 and its aims are to celebrate multilingualism and cultural diversity as well as to promote equal use of all six official working languages of the United Nations.
April 20, the day of the celebration, holds a special meaning as it was chosen as the date to pay tribute to Cangjie, a mythical figure who is presumed to have invented Chinese characters about 5,000 years ago.
To understand more about this day Seychelles NATION talked to Wang Dongxia, director of the Confucius Institute at the University of Seychelles (UniSey).
“The aim of this day is to educate people about the history of the Chinese language. Chinese was established as an official language of the United Nations in 1946. In 1973, the General Assembly included Chinese as a working language.
Today, many members of the United Nations work with Chinese as a functional language,” she said.
She added that presently more and more people are learning Chinese and that there are 66 Confucius institutes in Africa and more than 500 institutes in the world.
“Locally we have been conducting Chinese teaching and training in different schools and organisations, primarily at the UniSey, the Seychelles Tourism Academy (STA), the Seychelles Institute of Art & Design (SIAD), the Seychelles Civil Aviation Authority (SCAA), secondary and primary schools,” said the director.
Mrs Wang also highlighted that there is a huge interest among the local community to learn Chinese and the culture and traditions of China.
“For one thing, Seychellois are talented in language learning. Besides the European language French and English, Chinese is a different language,
Chinese culture is also a kind of culture with a long history and influence on a lot of other Asian countries and the world through communication and exchange,” she said.
Mrs Wang added that through the good relationship between China and Seychelles over the years many students have benefited from scholarships to study in China which shows how important the Chinese language is.
“Each year we have applicants willing to learn the language. Last year alone we had about 400 learners taking part in our long or short courses,” she said.
Mrs Wang remarked that this year lecturers from the Confucius Institute will celebrate Chinese Language Day in classes with activities. This year’s theme will be ‘Highlighting Pictographs’ and lecturers will be giving lectures on Chinese characters and the writing calligraphy experience.
There will also be a ceremony of Ox Year’s Chinese activity at the Seychelles Tourism Academy in the afternoon.