Lagat NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Rachael Gitau electrified the young
audience who filled an auditorium on Wednesday afternoon to listen to her belt
out a classical Chinese ballad that exhorted the virtues of love and human
The 20-year-old female vocalist is
pursuing a proficiency course in Chinese language at Kenyatta
University’s Confucius Institute located on the outskirts of the
Kenyan capital, Nairobi.
Gitau bagged cash award and a
certificate of recognition after emerging the overall winner of
the first Chinese singing competition held at one of Kenya’s
Speaking to Xinhua on the sidelines of
the contest that attracted dozens of talented young performing
artists, Gitau said her passion for Chinese music and dance has
gone a notch higher thanks to rigorous practice and mentorship
from her trainers.
“When I joined the Confucius Institute
two years ago, I never envisaged mastering Chinese music in
a relatively short span. It has been a journey of many false
starts but am glad I can now stride into the stage and
perform Chinese songs whose sentimentality is unrivalled,”
Born and raised in a small town
located 60 kilometers southwest of Nairobi, Gitau was lucky to
have working parents who encouraged her to pursue her dreams
Her music journey started at a tender
age when she joined the school choir to perform traditional and
neo-classical songs during special events like prize giving day.
Gitau’s prowess in linguistics earned
her a slot at the Kenyatta University’s Confucius Institute
where she vowed to improve her knowledge of language and culture
from the Middle Kingdom.
Her quick mastery of spoken mandarin
and different genres of Chinese music has earned her accolades
from tutors and university administration.
Gitau’s superb performance at the
inaugural Chinese singing contest at Kenyatta University not
only earned her cash rewards but elevated her fame inside and
outside the institution of higher learning.
“I wish my parents were present to
witness their daughter hit a new milestone in her musical
journey. It took rigorous practice combined with confidence
to scoop the first prize in the singing contest,” said Gitau.
Kenyan university students showcased
their mastery of traditional and classical Chinese music as well
as dance during the singing competition that attracted a
Caleb Muthama, a 24 year old
choreographer was crowned the best performer after electrifying
the audience with his creative dance moves.
Muthama danced energetically as a tune
dubbed “Descendants of the Dragon” played in the background.
The bubbly youth said joining Kenyatta
University’s Confucius Institute three years ago provided him
with a platform to hone his skills in Chinese music and dance.
“Before joining the Confucius
Institute, I could hardly imagine standing in front of a
huge crowd and dance as Chinese music played. I look forward
to mastering new songs from China and if possible perform to
a bigger crowd outside the University,” said Muthama.
His exemplary performance in Chinese
language proficiency course earned him a six-month scholarship
last year to study in one of the Asian giant’s leading
Kenyan youth have outshone their peers
from other African countries to demonstrate a sophisticated
grasp of Chinese language and culture.
The Chinese Director of Kenyatta
University’s Confucius Institute, Professor Li Qiang hailed the
huge enthusiasm by Kenyan youth to master spoken and written
“Kenyan youth are very talented and
their adventurous spirit has exposed them to foreign
languages and cultures that will ultimately enhance
realization of their career dreams,” remarked Professor Li.
He added that Kenyatta University’s
Confucius Institute is keen to create a critical mass of Kenyan
youth who are proficient in Mandarin.
The youth have been at the centre of
blossoming Sino-Kenya cultural ties thanks to their agility,
positive energy and friendly demeanor.
Dorcas Mugure, a 20 year old Chinese
language student at Kenyatta University’s Confucius Institute
said that learning new genres of Chinese music has been a
The talented singer was born in a
middle class Nairobi suburb where enrolling for a foreign
language or dance lessons was considered a mark of prestige.
Mugure’s parents encouraged her to
study Chinese language and culture with vigor when she joined
Kenyatta University’s Confucius Institute in January this year.
She emerged the winner of the second
runners up category after belting out a lyrical tune called
“Peaceful Summer” which won the hearts of judges and the
“Am impressed by the positive feedback
from judges and many friends who witnessed my performance,”
Mugure remarked adding that she intends to pursue mandarin
up to post graduate level.