The Chinese community in Rwanda, together with hundreds of Rwandans, on Friday celebrated the Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival, with a grand spectacle featuring songs, dance and acrobatics.
The ‘Happy Chinese New Year Gala Performance 2018’ was co-hosted by the Chinese Embassy, the Chinese Ministry of Culture and the Rwandan Ministry of Culture and Sports. This year’s edition of the Spring Festival gala, which was celebrated for the third consecutive time in Rwanda, was organized by the culture department of Gansu province, located in northwestern China, which provided most of the participating artists. It was attended by more than 2,000 guests from the government, parliament, military, business and academy community, media, art circles, diplomatic corps, Chinese companies and institutes.
The Chinese Ambassador to Rwanda, Rao Hongwei, observed that state-to-state relations thrive on friendship between the peoples, which grows out of mutual understanding.
“Culture exchanges are one of the best ways to build personal ties, deepen mutual understanding, promote cooperation and forge friendship,” he said. “The Happy Chinese New Year Gala provides an important platform for the cultural cooperation and interaction between China and Rwanda.”
In this context, he particularly welcomed the students of the Confucius Institute at the University of Rwanda, who he thanked for helping to spread the Chinese language and culture.
Rao also pointed out that 2018 is the Chinese Year of the Dog, which represents loyalty, trustworthiness, and generosity.
Minister of Culture and Sports Julienne Uwacu for her part expressed appreciation for the organization of the cultural event. She said that the Spring Festival Gala not only celebrates the bilateral cultural ties but also strengthens friendship and understanding between the two peoples. Uwacu drew thunderous applause when she concluded her speech by wishing the audience happy new year in Chinese.
The cultural exchange evoked by the two dignitaries in their speeches was also visible in the show itself, with a dance performance by the National Ballet and especially when singer Dai Haixia, having completed her song “The Silk Road,” was joined on stage by Mariya Yohanna for a joint rendering of “Intinzi,” with the Chinese performer flawlessly singing the Kinyarwanda lyrics.