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浙江师范大学非洲研究院

China-Africa friendship in full bloom

2017422日,非洲研究院尼日利亚籍研究员Ehizuelen Michael Mitchell Omoruyi在中国日报网发表文章:中非友谊之花在这里盛开(China-Africa friendship in full bloom)。

Through cultural exchanges, China and Africa friendship is now in full bloom and gathering further pace. A journalist named Lovemore Chikova from the Herald magazine in Zimbabwe started his article with an amazing narrative of how the pupils at Jinhua Quibin Primary School in Zhejiang province, China, leap into the air in a typical African dance routine. He said that the sound of the African instruments ranging from the mbira from Zimbabwe to the West African specially designed congas and other African instrument were so loud and clear, making a visitor from Africa momentarily forget they are in far-away China; that is the power of cultural diversity. The wide-ranging and colorful cultural activities from the pupils made important contributions to promoting the all-around, balance and sustainable development of the new type of China-Africa strategic partnership as well as intercultural dialogue on an equal footing, and safeguard world cultural diversity. The primary school is the first school in China to completely embrace the teaching of African culture, making the school a symbol of the symbiotic relationship between Africa and China since it embarked on such a special programme in 2015.

I was also amazed the first time I came to the Institute of African Studies to see an African museum in an institute that is located in China; this made me believe that China-Africa cultural exchange is really gaining momentum and moving to the next level. As far as I know, in recent decades the Chinese have expanded their activities from trade and investment to cultural exchanges in more and more African nations, making the Chinese gradually learn more about Africa and its people. But the exchange is not equal. In contrast, opportunities for Chinese people to learn about Africa are relatively rare. People in China do not know much about African culture and art. Although China-Africa relations began centuries ago and intensified during the liberation struggle by African nations, and continue through the present day, there is still little awareness from the Chinese in terms of Africa culture. Nowadays, the friendship has been strengthening economic and political relations. But it is an African museum at the Institute of African Studies and institution like Jinhua Quibin primary school that ensures such friendship is expanded to other areas. The primary school and African museum have adopted a special type of education that focuses on African culture. The museum is the first of its kind to be established in a higher education institute and it specializes in foreign art. The collection of African artifacts is the largest collection of foreign art in terms of a higher education institute since the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, thereby making Zhejiang Normal University, the university with the largest collection of African artefacts.

Looking at the museum from afar, you will see that the building itself is a piece of art spreading out right in front of your eyes. When entering the structure, you will find different artefacts displayed around, offering a different perspective. This is how traditional African landscape paintings should be experienced, through free shifts of perspective; China and Africa need an architecture for aesthetic appreciation and spiritual fulfillment.

The Jinhua Quibin Primary School, meanwhile, has embraced all aspects of African culture, which include face painting, designing of tribal clothing, manufacturing of African musical instruments and designing of thatched huts. There are several African design and architecture in the school yard; the pupil design masks out of cardboard plates and most of the designs are gotten from the different part of Africa. Anyone who visits the primary school will be amazed at what the pupils do with African arts, fabrics designs, hair weaving, sculpting and African musical instruments.

My question was, who was behind these two remarkable ideas? It was not surprising when I found out that the man behind these ideas is Professor Liu Hongwu, the director of the Institute of African Studies, Zhejiang Normal University. He has a degree in African History from the University of Lagos, Nigeria. I was so proud of my country when I knew he studied in Nigeria, above all proud of his accomplishment.

Professor Liu has built his reputation as a passionate scholar on African issues and the primary school and museum are such example. He introduced the African culture and history at the school as well as the African museum because he knows there are more and more people interested in African culture nowadays. The director wish is to see that not only the primary school in Jinhua but other level of the institution in China will in future open more opportunities between China and African nations to bolster more understanding. At the Forum for China-Africa Cooperation in Johannesburg in 2015, President Xi Jinping promised more cooperation between China and Africa in culture and education. And the example of the African museum at the Institute of African Studies and Quibin Primary Schools is to bolster such cooperation consistent with the policy set out at the Johannesburg summit.

Liu asserts that he has forged a long and abiding love for Africa and its people. He hopes to promote communication between China and Africa and use his Africa experience to cultivate interest among more Chinese people in this particular art form through organizing workshops and seminars, and also expand Chinese people’s knowledge of Africa in the aspect of culture. Professor Liu Hongwu hopes through what he has done, he can make African people feel that their Chinese friends respect and appreciate their arts and culture; it may help them boost self-confidence in their cultural legacy. The ultimate aim is to promote China-Africa friendship.

As people from China and Africa idea develop in tandem with economic growth there will be cultural awakening, and the Chinese and African people will soon be able to appreciate great architecture and culture. To put African artefacts in a museum permits more people to learn about African culture and art. I hope this development will attract more Chinese and African young people to embark on the journey of promoting art and cultural exchanges between China and Africa.

 全文请见:http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2017-04/22/content_29038446_2.htm

  

作者:迈克尔•伊西祖勒恩

发表时间:2017-04-24

浙江师范大学非洲研究院

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