University of Nairobi
University of Nairobi

A joint Chinese and Kenya arts performance was staged at the University of Nairobi on Sunday as part of the growing Sino-Kenya cultural ties.

Zhao Xiyuan, Minister Counselor at the Chinese embassy in Kenya, said that the performance by the visiting Nanjing Performing Arts Group and Kenya’s Ingosi Stars Cultural Band will help to expand people to people ties.

“Cultural exchanges are indispensable in China-Kenya relations,” Zhao said.

During the event, over 10 cultural performances from China and Kenya were exhibited ranging from traditional to contemporary dances.

He added that the performance by Chinese and Kenyan art troupes is another success because it will further promote China-Kenya friendship and cooperation.

Zhao added that Chinese civilization dates back to 5,000 years ago while Kenya is one of the birthplaces of human beings.

The Chinese official said that cultural exchanges between the two countries have a long story to tell given that Zheng He’s fleet reached the coastal cities of Kenya in the 15th century, bringing not only commercial goods, but also friendship and Chinese culture.

According to Zhao, in recent years, the Sino-Kenya exchanges on science, technology, education and culture have further deepened as more Kenyans are keen to learn Chinese language and culture at Confucius Institutes.

He noted that the Chinese community in Kenya together with the Kenyan people have jointly done a lot of work to promote people to people exchanges.

Shakeel Shabbir, chairperson of the Kenya China Parliamentary Friendship Group, said that both countries are committed to elevate cultural cooperation because it is an important facet of bilateral ties.

Shabbir said that culture like sports has no language barriers and can be used as a tool to enhance mutual understanding.

He said that China was one of the first countries in the world to recognize Kenya’s independence in 1963 and has since been a true friend ever since.

The lawmaker noted that the growing importance of China in the global stage has seen a rise in interest among Kenyans for learning Chinese culture and language.

Daniel Njuguna, a 25-year-old Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery student at the University of Nairobi, said that it was his first time to watch a Chinese cultural performance.

“It was very entertaining, including the costumes worn by the performers,” Njuguna said. The sixth year student noted that more China artistic performances need to be held in Kenya in order to break down the languages barriers.

Bernard Kirui, a 29-year-old teacher, said that the Chinese art troupe displayed a lot of mastery in their performance.

“The choreography of the Chinese ballet dancers was very entertaining,” he said.

The secondary mathematics tutor called for more Chinese performances locally in order enlighten Kenyans on the rich cultural heritage of the Asian continent.

Steve Wakoli, a 24-year-old finance major at the Kenyatta University, said that the Chinese artistic display was thrilling.

Wakoli, who is currently studying Chinese language, said that he was also impressed by the perfect rendition of a popular Swahili song by a Chinese artist. Enditem

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