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When Nokuthula Hadebe’s application to study journalism was rejected, she thought it was the end of her studies.

Fate would however prove her wrong when she got accepted into the Department of Language Practice.

The second year DUT Language Practice student started off not too keen to study further after matriculating. However, after a push from her parents, she made her way to DUT.

During her first year of study, Hadebe realised that she enjoyed learning about foreign languages and cultures a bit more than she would have enjoyed studying journalism. “Although my initial plan was to study journalism, I believe the rejection was a blessing in disguise because I began studying French and Mandarin and the more I learnt about these foreign languages, the more I was convinced that I was on an exciting journey,” she said.

According to Hadebe, Mandarin is the easiest and most enjoyable language she has learnt compared to any other language she knows. “Mandarin is fun; it’s not as complicated as other languages. I have been studying French before I started learning Mandarin but I found it (Mandarin) much easier to grasp than French,” she said.

Her love for Mandarin earned her second place at the prestigious 14th World College Students Chinese Bridge Competition and 8th Middle School Students Chinese Bridge Competition held in Durban in May this year (2015). Hadebe was part of 32 students from various South African universities and high schools that participated in the Chinese Bridge Competition which promotes interactions among regional Confucius institutes. In the competition, participants had to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of Mandarin, China and its cultural skills as well as its history.

After delivering a passionate speech in Mandarin, taking part in a Mandarin proficiency test and performing the Chinese traditional dance: Tai Chi, Hadebe was announced second place winner. “I love the Chinese culture. One of my wishes is to get the opportunity to study in China and then later work at the United Nations,” she said excitedly.

– Noxolo Memela

Pictured: Nokuthula Hadebe performs Tai Chi which also earned her the second position at the Chinese Bridge – Chinese Proficiency Competition for Foreign College Students.

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