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The Community Engagement Office, which is based with the DVC: RIE at the Durban University of Technology, in collaboration with the DUT Confucius Institute (DUT CI), recently partnered with the Umkhumbane Schools Project to host a two-day seminar to introduce Chinese Culture: Martial Arts, to learners at Wiggins High School in Durban.

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The seminar was facilitated by Mr Sanele Ntuli, Admin Assistant at DUT CI and Ms Xiao Peng, Mandarin Lecturer at DUT. Xiao Peng conducted a virtual presentation on the Chinese Culture and taught the basics of martial arts. Facilitating the proceedings at the school was Ms Phumzile Xulu, Community Engagement Practitioner under the office of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research, Innovation and Engagement (DVC: RIE) at DUT.

Starting off the seminar, Peng gave learners brief information on China and taught learners how to greet in Chinese and introduced the Chinese Martial Arts to them.

Ntuli taught the learners the Wu Qin Xi which is the Five Animals Qi Gong, created by an ancient physician and surgeon Hua Tuo in the 2nd century. He described the Qi Gong as a mind-body-spirit practise that improves one’s mental and physical health through certain movements and breathing techniques. The five animals consist of a tiger, deer, bear, monkey and bird.

“Each animal corresponds to the five elements, wood, fire, metal, earth and water. The five elements are used to understand and analyse inter relationships between our body organs and our body and nature. The tiger corresponds to wood, linked to the liver and gall bladder. The deer corresponds to water, linked to kidney and bones. The bear corresponds to earth which is linked to the spine and stomach. The monkey is fire which is linked to the heart and the bird is metal which is linked to the lungs,” explained Ntuli.

He then demonstrated to the learners how to do the Wu Qin Xi showcasing the different movements made by each of the five animals. Learners were excited to imitate the movements of the Wu Qin Xi.

A question-and-answer session was conducted after the presentation by Ntuli with the help of Xulu who was with the learners at the school. Small gifts were handed to those who paid attention throughout the presentation and were able to give correct answers.

Talking about the seminar, Xulu said that the DVC: RIE Community Engagement Office was excited to collaborate with CI to extend the programme to schools.

“Learning about different cultures is important and it helps us approach languages with new insight. Learners must be exposed to these skills at a very young age. We hope that we can offer Mandarin lessons to the learners in schools as well. There was a lot of interest to learn the language from the learners that participated in the seminar. In today’s increasingly interconnected and interdependent world, proficiency in other languages is a vital skill that allows you to engage with the world in a more immediate and meaningful way,’ added Xulu.

Pictured: Wiggins High School learners during DUT’s Chinese Culture seminar.

Simangele Zuma

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