Thirty-seven South African students who received scholarships to study in China will bid farewell at a ceremony at the Chinese Embassy in Pretoria on Thursday.
Departing for China at the end of August, the students were hosted by Deputy Minister of Higher Education and Training Mduduzi Manana, together with the ambassador of the People’s Republic of China, Tian Xuejun.
The scholarship is part of an educational exchange programme between South Africa and the People’s Republic of China. The students will pursue their undergraduate and postgraduate studies in various fields, including engineering, business, economics and agriculture and a non-degree in Chinese language studies. “I assure you that the country you will be visiting is a nation of friendship and brotherhood for South Africa,” said Xuejun.
Speaking of a new life experience in China, he urged the students to keep in mind the three Fs – future, fun and friendship.
“The Chinese government scholarship programme, which is supporting your study in China, is an important part of the work we do to promote our bilateral cultural and people-to-people exchange,” said Xuejun. “I assure you that the country you will be visiting is a nation of friendship and brotherhood for South Africa.”
Manana encouraged the students to help each other in China. “I hope for your contribution to our economy with what you learn in China,” he said.
Kelebogile Mkhabela, 26, one of the students selected for the scholarship, expressed gratitude to the department of higher education, saying: “We promise to make you proud. To the Chinese government, it means the world to us to learn about your culture and thank you for investing time and granting us this opportunity to acquire skills that will empower us.”
Studying the Chinese language would, for Nii-Ordartey Mills, 26, open different opportunities such as engaging in Chinese politics. “This is a life-changing opportunity, as China is one of the world’s oldest and richest cultures,” said Mills. “To experience this in Beijing is a dream. It will allow me to meet new people from around the world and cultivate relationships with the Chinese people.”