Ugandan students inspired by Chinese song competition

Clad in Chinese traditional attire, competitors sang Chinese songs at the annual Chinese song competition organized by the Confucius Institute at Makerere University, Uganda’s largest and oldest institution of higher learning, in the capital city of Kampala.

Victor Kaggwa, a music student, was among the 19 finalists at the second Chinese song competition dubbed “Voice into my heart” held on Oct.15. The first such event was held last year.


Kaggwa sang a Chinese song Dian Ge De Ren, winning him the adult category award. He got a certificate, an iPad, and a smartwatch.

Off the stage at the competition held at the university’s main campus, Kaggwa told Xinhua of his love for cultural diversity.

Kaggwa has never been to a Chinese language class. When applications were called for the song competition, he started to learn how to master the song he had submitted.


“It was my first time encountering the Chinese language, and pronunciation of the words was difficult, but the Confucius Institute teachers were willing to help me out. So that is how I managed to get the tone and pronunciation properly,” Kaggwa said.

“I have always persisted by making sure that every day I try to practice and understand some of the Chinese words and how to use them when I am communicating,” Kaggwa said.

For Kaggwa, persistence and zeal are the key factors in the competition.


Courtney Asingwire, another competitor in the youth category, said her love for learning the Chinese language has always pushed her to keep learning and seek knowledge from people who are advanced in the Chinese language, especially her teacher.

Asingwire, a student at Ndejje Secondary School started learning the Chinese language three years ago. Her biggest challenge was the use of Chinese characters.

“They use characters, they don’t use alphabet. It scares me a lot. It is a tonal language, so mastering the tone is difficult. For example, three words have the same spelling but different tones. Differentiating is not easy,” she said.


Asingwire was the overall winner in the youth category and won the best Chinese pronunciation award. She sang a Chinese song Taiyang, winning an iPad, a smartwatch, and getting a certificate.

For both Kaggwa and Asingwire, learning the Chinese language will continue to be an uphill task.


Xia Zhuoqiong, the Chinese director of the Confucius Institute, told the audience that the competition helps the students appreciate both Chinese and Ugandan cultures.

Xia, who has been at the Confucius Institute for over five years now, appreciated the support provided by the participants, various Chinese company groups, and Makerere University, saying that more such competitions will be held because they help promote cultural exchange.


Barnabas Nawangwe, Vice Chancellor at Makerere University, in a message read by the Principal of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Josephine Akihire, said the university will further promote the teaching of Chinese.

“We have been supporting the Confucius Institute since its inception. So, we shall even partner in various programs here to ensure that Chinese and Ugandan cultures are promoted within the university and even outside,” she said. Enditem

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