Obtaining various sustainable and cultural opportunities is what the Durban University of Technology (DUT) thrives to provide to its students.
For third-year Language Practice student Ntsikelelo Nhlenyama, being part of DUT has seen him grow in leaps and bounds, especially in terms of learning new languages such as Mandarin.
“Ever since high school, I dreamt of becoming a multi-linguist (language practitioner) because growing up I was surrounded by people of diverse cultures, languages and nationalities. My main interest grew in languages because I believe it is very important in every aspect of our lives, as it brings together people from all over the world, allowing people to communicate in a manner that enables the sharing of common ideas,” he said.
Nhlenyama chose to study Mandarin which is offered by the DUT Confucius Institute because it is the most widely spoken language in the world. “Mandarin is an official language in Singapore, and with globalisation, it is essential to grow and learn more languages like Mandarin. When you learn mandarin you will set yourself apart from the rest. Therefore, when seeking for international employment opportunities you stand a better chance and believe me, it will make you highly valuable,” he said.
The Confucius Institute is currently located at the DUT ML Sultan campus with a Chinese Culture Experience Centre, a Library and a dedicated Chinese language lab. The HSK Test Centre and the International Chinese Language Teacher Examination Centre, which is the only one on the African Continent, have also been established at the DUT Confucius Institute.
As a characteristic of the global Confucius Institutes, the DUT CI works as a bridge to promote cooperation between DUT and the Chinese Universities to advance collaborations in the various fields. Moreover, the DUT CI has been dedicated to ‘Mandarin plus’ vocational and technical training, contributing to the economic development of local communities by exploiting the discipline advantages of DUT and the Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University (FAFU) in Fuzhou, China.
He further added that his experience at the Confucius Institute had been amazing, and during the course of his study he discovered that Mandarin is a language for all students to consider learning. “My understanding was that you can master anything as long as you have the passion and dedication for it,” he said.
In 2017, he completed his basic conversational Mandarin course from which he was awarded a certificate of attendance and certificate of voluntary work during the open week expo and the fourth Chinese winter camp organised, and sponsored by the Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University in Fuzhou, China.
“Having learnt the Chinese culture, I realised that I should attribute what I have been taught to others, that is why I am considering starting my own non-profit organisation which will encourage and inspire the young and the old to learn more about the Chinese culture, language, food and other Chinese festivals,” said Nhlenyama.
Besides taking time out to learn Mandarin, Nhlenyama is also currently serving as the Central Housing Committee President (CHC President), a governing structure representing all students residing at DUT residences for both Durban and the Midlands campuses. He is a representative of the CHC at the SRC in all residence matters; head of all chairpersons (CHC) Central Housing Council, including the House Committee, Central Housing Forum (CHF), working alongside with substructures such as the Green Campus initiative, Chakaza and Insika.
To find out more about Mandarin, call 031 373 5814/5844.
Pictured: Ntsikelelo Nhlenyama is learning more on the Chinese culture from a Chinese student in China.