Chinese Spring Festival brought a parts of Kenya to a stand still at the Chinese New Year celebrations. 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 Festival.
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 studyChinese 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 Chinese music.
“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.
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 two countries.
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 tangible results.
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 ofan 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 university student.
“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 organization.
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 remarked.