Deputy Minister in the Presidency Tembi Siwaya welcomed a delegation from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, led by President Xie Fuzhan, to cement relations for the final preparation and implementation of the decisions of the Forum on China-Africa co-operation. Picture: GCIS

Durban - The Chinese Embassy in South Africa has given Clairwood Secondary School in Durban a major boost, which will see its learners being among the approximately 100 million people outside of China learning Mandarin following the unveiling of a new Mandarin Teaching Station of Confucius Institute at the school.

The station, donated by the ­Chinese government, comes with 20 computers and printers and will ensure that the school receives free Mandarin lessons from next year.

Lin Songtian, the Chinese Ambassador to South Africa, said the education of children was the top priority for his government.

“Education is not only very important for the family, for the people and also for the nation, but to invest in education is to invest in the future, so this is why we are here. If we are to develop this country, we need to develop our people first,” Songtian said.

He said he had mobilised Chinese universities to become partners with local universities so that they could help to update facilities at local universities. “If the facilities lag, it’s hard for you to produce the future products, and so it is very important to have new equipment,” he said.

He also said bilateral relations between China and the African continent, and South Africa in particular, were important to help both the continent and the country fight poverty and ensure common prosperity.

“If you have the capacity, you would be able to develop the country and develop families by yourself, so whoever can help this continent and help this country to develop the economy and human resources is a true friend,” he said.

Professor Anil Sooklal, deputy director-general for Asia and Middle East at the Department of International Relations and Co-operation, said a successful China meant a successful South Africa, because the Chinese wanted to see South Africa grow and prosper. “This is not a donation, it’s an investment in South Africa, and an investment in the people of South Africa, in our youth, and that’s the greatest gift China can give South Africa. That’s the spirit of China that I’ve come to know,” Sooklal said.

He added: “It is China’s sincere desire to uplift the global community, Africa in particular, and we are fortunate that China is our largest partner globally today. It’s a deep desire to share their experience in making sure we move out of poverty and underdevelopment, and also share the experience that you see in China today.”

Political Bureau