Chinese Spring Festival enlivens the mood of Kenyan youth
05 February 2016, 20:52
Nairobi - Loise Ngugi's courageous spirit
and agility was evident as she strode to a raised podium to belt out a Chinese
contemporary song that electrified a sizeable crowd gathered at a university
gymnasium on Thursday to celebrate the Chinese New Year.
The fourth-year mandarin student in a Kenyan public
university lifted the spirit of revelers who endured scorching afternoon sun to
watch live performances during an event to mark the onset of the Chinese Spring
Ngugi's sharp vocals, methodical poses and elegant regalia
made her an instant sensation in the packed gymnasium.
Born and raised in a middle class suburb in the Kenyan
capital, Nairobi, Ngugi was exposed to high culture at an early age and her
passion to study Chinese language peaked when she joined the university.
During an interview with Xinhua on the sidelines of the
Spring Festival celebrations, Ngugi revealed her love for different genres of
"I am more at ease while performing classical and
contemporary Chinese music. The songs are rich in tone and sentimentality but
easy to learn," Ngugi remarked.
She was among the dozens of Kenyan youth who made sterling
performances as the East African nation joined the rest of the world to
celebrate Chinese New Year.
Ngugi's dalliance with Chinese music and dance started four
years ago when she joined Kenyatta University's Confucius institute.
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She perfected the ability to perform a Chinese contemporary
song in August last year during a month long study tour in the Asian giant.
"While in China, I was privileged to participate in a
summer camp that brought together people from different nationalities to learn
different facets of the Chinese culture including music, dance, language and
folklore," Ngugi told Xinhua.
She hailed the Chinese Spring Festival for raising awareness
on a rich culture that has been preserved for centuries by the middle kingdom.
"We are privileged to participate in the Chinese New
Year celebrations and learn more about the Chinese traditions, music, dance,
costumes and cuisine," Ngugi remarked.
The aspiring diplomat said she intends to study Chinese
language up to post graduate level.
Kenyans from all walks of life are now accustomed to
different facets of Chinese culture thanks to blossoming friendship between the
The theme of the event to mark Chinese Spring Festival on
Thursday was "China meets Kenya".
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta sent his good will message
to the Chinese people as they prepared to mark an important day in their
calendar on Feb. 8.
During the occasion to mark Chinese Spring Festival, both
the Chinese and Kenyan officials were emphatic bilateral ties between the two
countries remained unshaken.
Jiang Peng, Minister Counsellor at the Chinese Embassy in
Nairobi, said a pragmatic Sino-Kenya cooperation in diverse areas has produced
He noted that establishment of four Confucius institutes in
Kenya has enhanced cultural diplomacy.
Hundreds of Kenyan youth who graced the event to mark
Chinese Spring Festival were ecstatic as they watched lively performances that
included music, dance and traditional Chinese fashion show.
Allan Mugambi, a 20-year-old second year mandarin student at
Kenyatta University's Confucius Institute was at ease as he strummed the guitar
in front of an attentive audience.
During a conversation with Xinhua, Mugambi revealed his
passion for Chinese contemporary music.
"Playing the guitar and singing any of the modern
Chinese songs is not only entertaining but also therapeutic. The Spring
Festival has at least provided an opportunity for me to do what I
cherish," said Mugambi.
His classmate Judy Wangechi said her participation at the
Chinese New Year Celebration marked a crucial milestone in her life as a
"The festival was rich in terms of entertainment and
creating awareness on the Chinese way of life. We gained new insight on Chinese
folklore and traditional dances," Wangechi remarked.
She is studying Chinese language at Kenyatta University's
Confucius Institute and aspires to work as a translator in an international
Wangechi was a beneficiary of a four month scholarship
sponsored by the Chinese government to study mandarin in a prestigious
university from August to December last year.
Her best friend Priscilla Wanjiku is also studying mandarin
and had kind words for the Chinese New Year celebrations.
"It was my first time to attend the Chinese New Year
celebrations in Kenya and the experience will linger in my mind for a longer
period. The performances were thrilling and educative too," Wanjiku