China fetes Zimbabwean kids for Day of the African Child

Abel Karowangoro and Tichaona Zindoga
The Embassy of China on Wednesday threw a party for Zimbabwean children from three local schools to mark the Day of the African Child, which falls on June 16.

The Day of the African Child is a United Nations-recognised commemoration in remembrance of the Soweto Uprising in 1976, when black students in apartheid South Africa protested against education injustice and inequality of the white-supremacist regime. The day is celebrated on June 16 every year since 1991 and is an opportunity to reflect on the rights of the African child and the challenges that children in Africa face on a daily basis.

And on Wednesday, the spouse of Chinese Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Mr Zhou Ding, Madame Lyu Renhong entertained learners from Harare’s primary schools, namely Wise Owl, Masaisai and Gateway in an “Open House” event. The schools are public and privately-owned, representing different social backgrounds.

The afternoon began with a tour of the Embassy, with officials explaining various features, facilities and fixtures in the complex, including pictures and cultural artefacts on display. The officials also explained the history of China-Zimbabwe relations.

An official, Mr James Mutero, takes learners on a tour of Chinese Embassy’s special guest room

A cultural exchange session saw performances from the two sides with a group of young diplomats and Chinese children reenacting a mini opera, while the schools exercised language recitations, songs and marimba music. The young Zimbabweans and their teachers also enjoyed Chinese cuisine in a fulfilling day, which offered a glimpse into the future of Zimbabwd-China relations, with a number of children showing excellent enthusiasm to know more about China and its culture.
Addressing the participants, Madame Lyu said: “Your presence here today is a testament to the enduring spirit of friendship and cooperation between China and Zimbabwe.”
“We are delighted to extend our warmest hospitality to each and every one of you,” she said.

She praised the Zimbabwean children’s “enthusiasm, warmth, and talent” and encouraged those learning Chinese to “continue your studies diligently and become proud ambassadors of the China-Zimbabwe friendship.”

She reiterated China’s commitment to supporting Zimbabwean children’s development through various initiatives, saying, “We are committed to supporting Zimbabwean children in every way possible, whether through school construction, educational programs, cultural exchanges, or humanitarian assistance.”

Masaisai Primary School marimba band give guests a number

The event aimed to foster cultural understanding and friendship between China and Zimbabwe, showcasing the embassy’s dedication to the well-being of Zimbabwean children. Gateway Primary School senior teacher Mrs Stella Mutsaka told Review & Mail that the school had been inspired to introduce Chinese language learning via a club, something that is being done by Wise Owl.
“At Gateway we are not currently teaching Chinese Language from this event we are not interested to start having Chinese lessons,” she said. “Our High School has been learning it so it’s not going to be hard for us to adapt.
“We are looking forward to introduce Chinese Language to Gateway Schools,” Mrs Mutsaka said.

Young Chinese diplomats and children perform a cultural activity to entertain guests

An Embassy official, James Mutero, who took the children on tour of the compound, said this was the first time to have schools tour – and the exercise promised to bear fruit in opening the minds of Zimbabwean children to China.

The Embassy has just begun undertaking a series of charitable activities assisting Zimbabwean youths and vulnerable children under an initiative called Hope Harbour and recently made donations to Dzikwa Trust in Dzivarasekwa township in the capital, Harare.

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