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Prof Peng Yi joins the UJCI

Prof Peng Yi of Nanjing Tech University has joined the UJCI as Chinese Co-Director, succeeding Prof Yin Fulin. She assumed her duties on 1 February 2018.

A native of Jingzhou City, Hubei Province, Prof Peng has a background in law, and has served in various capacities, including lecturing in and researching the legal conflicts between Hong Kong and the People’s Republic of China. She has also been involved in civil procedure law.

Commenting on her tenure, Prof Peng has stated that she is looking forward to working with all stakeholders to advance the UJCI and the university in general. She is working closely with her South African counterpart, Dr David Monyae. Prof Peng’s term will last until early 2020.

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UJCI Wushu Club member stars in African championship

On 24 July in Benin, a member of the UJCI Wushu Club, Baimei (Megan Cruickshank), came second in Taolu Nanquan and second in short weapons in the 6th African Wushu Championship. Athletes from 11 African countries attended the competition. Baimei represented South Africa, and her achievement has made all the members of the UJCI Wushu Club happy and excited.

On 29 July, the South Africa Wushu Federation (SAWF) National & Open Wushu Championship & Trials were held in Johannesburg. More than one hundred competitors from ten wushu groups participated. Wushu experts from Beijing Sport University and Shenyang Sport University in China gave wushu demonstrations.

Three members of the UJCI Wushu Club took part in this competition, and all of them achieved good results. Kaiwen (Kevin) came first in the traditional Taijiquan (yang style) for the male group, and third in the traditional long apparatus. Jiahui (Taryn) came first in the traditional Taijiquan (yang style) for the female group, and Baimei (Megan) came second in the traditional long apparatus for the female group. All these students trained really hard during their vacation.

The UJCI Wushu Club was  only established in April 2017, but under the leadership of coach Prof Du and his team it has achieved great success in a short time. More than 300 people have registered as members, which has given the development of wushu in Johannesburg a big boost.


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Dragon Boat Festival 2017

From left to right: Dr David Monyae, Co-Director, UJCI; Mrs Tang Deyan; Prof Yin Fulin, Co-Director, UJCI; Ms Ren Xiaoxia, Vice Consul General, Chinese Embassy; Mr Michael Sun, City of JOhannesburg MMC for Public Safety; and Ms Han Fang, Chairman of the Chinese Funding Association.

On 30 May 2017, UJCI held a Dragon Boat Festival at its premises in Auckland Park, Johannesburg.

The Dragon Boat Festival, also called Duanwu Festival, is celebrated on the fifth day of the fifth month of the lunar calendar. The Chinese Dragon Boat Festival is a significant holiday celebrated in China, and the one with the longest history. It is one of the most important Chinese festivals. The origin of this summer festival centers around a scholarly government official named Qu Yuan. He was a good and respected man, but because of the misdeeds of jealous rivals he eventually fell into disfavor in the emperor’s court. Unable to regain the respect of the emperor, in his sorrow Qu Yuan threw himself into the Miluo River. Because of their admiration for Qu Yuan, the local people living adjacent to the Miluo River rushed into their boats to search for him while throwing rice into the waters to appease the river dragons. Although they were unable to find Qu Yuan, their efforts are still commemorated today during the Dragon Boat Festival.

The boat races during the Dragon Boat Festival are traditional customs to attempts to rescue the patriotic poet Qu Yuan. Qu Yuan drowned on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month in 277 B.C. Chinese citizens now throw bamboo leaves filled with cooked rice into the water. Therefore the fish could eat the rice rather than the hero poet. This later on turned into the custom of eating rice dumplings.

The celebration is a time for protection from evil and disease for the rest of the year. It is done so by different practices such as hanging healthy herbs on the front door, drinking nutritious concoctions, and displaying portraits of evil’s nemesis, Chung Kuei. If one manages to stand an egg on its end at exactly 12:00 noon, the following year will be a lucky one.

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Policy Research Seminar on the role of China in SADC industrialisation

On 20-21 April 2017, the UJCI and the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), in collaboration with Oxfam International’s Africa-China Dialogue Platform (ACDP), hosted a policy research seminar on the ‘Prospects for SADC Regional Integration Through Industrialisation and the Role of China’.

Held at the Capital Moloko Hotel in Sandton, Johannesburg, the seminar was attended by scholars, policy-makers and government officials as well as representatives of civil society, private sector institutions, UN agencies, and Regional Economic Communities (RECs). The participants came from across the SADC and COMESA regions as well as from China.

The main objective of the seminar was to examine China-Southern Africa relationships in the context of SADC’s Industrialisation Policy (2012), Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap (2015), and revised Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) for 2015-2020.

The seminar reflected on the background and trajectory of the relationship between China and SADC and its Member States in promoting industrialisation in the region; trade and investment exchanges; and co-operation in infrastructure development and minerals development. It also explored how China could better support, promote and contribute to industrialisation in South Africa, particularly in light of its commitment to this effect at the Forum on China—Africa Co-operation (FOCAC) held in South Africa in 2015, and the G20 Summit held in China in September 2016.

For a summary of and outcome statement on the Policy Research Seminar, click here.

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Public Dialogue on China’s role in regional development

On Tuesday 18 April, the UJCI and the Chair of Industrial Development at UJ, in partnership with the UJ Library, hosted a Public Dialogue on ‘The Role of China in SADC’s Regional Integration through Industrialisation’.

The Dialogue was chaired by Prof Erika Kraemer-Mbula, senior researcher at the Chair of Industrial Development. The speakers were:

  • Prof Siphamandla Zondi of the Department of Political Sciences at the University of Pretoria;
  • Prof Minquan Liu, Professor of Economics and Honorary Director of the Centre for Human and Economic Development Studies at at Peking University in Beijing, China; and
  • Prof Simon Roberts, Executive Director of the Centre for Competition, Regulation and Economic Development (CCRED) at UJ.


Outlining the background to the Dialogue, the organisers stated:

‘Industrialisation is regarded as the vehicle for accelerated economic growth in Africa. After the economic recovery, industrialisation is now a priority focus for political leaders and policy-makers in Africa.

‘At the SADC Summit in August 2014, the Heads of State and Government of SADC mandated the SADC Secretariat to develop a strategy and roadmap on Industrialization for the region. The SADC Strategy and Roadmap on industrialisation was produced and subsequently adopted at the August 2015 SADC Summit.

‘Currently, the SADC Secretariat is developing an Action Plan to facilitate the implementation of the strategy. In the same vein, development partners such as China have acknowledged industrialization as a fundamental component of its Africa strategy. And the Johannesburg Action Plan (2016-2018) identified industrialization as “imperative to ensure Africa’s independent and sustainable development”.

This Public Dialogue will debate the opportunities and challenges for industrialization in Southern Africa through the SADC Industrialization Strategy and Roadmap as a mechanism for scaling up regional integration in the region and the possible role of China in this regard.’

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Chinese Spring Festival at UJ


On 27 January 2017, the UJCI was proud to present the Chinese Spring Festival celebrating the beginning of the New Year in China – The Year of the Rooster – at Auckland Park.

The Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival, is determined by the lunisolar Chinese calendar, so the date changes from year to year.

Members of the Chinese Club and students at the UJCI presented impressive traditional and contemporary performances that illustrated the dynamism of Chinese culture through music, dance, storytelling and theatrical presentations.

The official guests included Prof Tshilidzi Marwala, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research and Internationalisation; Prof Chris Landsberg, holder of the NRF Chair of African Diplomacy and Foreign Policy; Prof David More; and Prof Adekeye Adebajo, incoming Director of the Institute for Pan African Thought (IPATC). Faculty, staff and school students also attended the event.

Speakers included the Mandarin lecturers Michele Liu, Sun Wei and Du Shougao.

Dr David Monyae, Director of the UJ CI, said: ‘The Confucius Institute envisions Chinese Spring Festival as a celebration for people of all ages and backgrounds, with Chinese and non-Chinese coming together to enjoy the beauty and majesty of Chinese culture through the ages.

“The Chinese New Year has become a special date on the University calendar, and the family-friendly celebrations are a fantastic opportunity to welcome local people to the University. As part of its mandate, the UJCI teaches African and Chinese culture as part of its annual activities. These cultural activities go a long way in strengthening Africa and China relationship far beyond high level political and business networks. It brings people-to-people experience making it much easier for cultural dimension of the strategic partnership between Africans and Chinese. It also offers an international experience for those interested in learning more about Chinese culture.”

The Chinese New Year has a rich long history spanning back thousands of years. In China it is known as the “Spring Festival” because it marks the end of the winter season and this year’s festival welcomed in the dawn of the Year of the Rooster. With more than 530 Confucius Institutes worldwide, the overall objective is to teach Mandarin and to promote Chinese cultural activities.

Highlights of the 2017 festival included the background of Chinese Spring Festival; writing Chinese Spring Couplets  and  making Chinese Dumplings, all accompanied by the use of the most famous, contemporary Chinese music.

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Public Dialogue on the role of the US and China in African development

From left to right: Dr David Monyae, Professor John Stremlau, Professor Yin Fulin, and Dr Shengyong Qin.

On Thursday 2 March 2017, the UJ CI, in partnership with the UJ Library, hosted a Public Dialogue on ‘The role of the US and China in Africa’s quest for development’. The event was attended by more than 100 people, including ten Ambassadors, High Commissioners and senior diplomats.

The Public Dialogue examined how China and the US are engaging with Africa. It also looked at the foreign policies adopted by each country and how they fit within the broader context of Africa’s development, particularly with the AU’s Agenda 2063.

Dr David Monyae, Co-Director of the UJCI, said it was the first in a series of dialogues UJCI would host this year on various topics concerning Africa-China relations.

China and the US are important players in the politics and economic development of Africa. These two major powers have undertaken several initiatives to deepen their engagement with the continent to expand their interests. While the US had a head start on investment and commercial engagement with Africa, its focus has mostly been on promoting liberal democratic ideals for economic development. China, on the other hand, has enhanced its role on the continent with a no strings attached approach to investment and commercial engagement creating the impression that Beijing is ready and willing to support Africa’s development efforts.

Dr David Monyae chaired the Public Dialogue and the main presentations came from Professor Gilbert Khadiagala: Jan Smuts Professor of International Relations and Head of Department, University of Witwatersrand; Dr Shengyong Qin: Co-Director: Confucius Institute, University of Cape Town; Professor Yin Fulin Chinese Co-director: University of Johannesburg (UJCI) and Professor John Stremlau: Visiting Professor, University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.

“Africa is a strategic region for the US and China, and this should propel the African Union (AU) to use this opportunity to further its development agenda for the continent. It should not be Beijing or Washington that shapes Africa’s agenda; rather Africa must define how to strategically engage these two powers. In other words, Africa should stand firm and negotiate fair deals (win-win) with both China and the US explained Dr Monyae.

The public lecture dealt with the role of the African Agency in shaping the outcomes of its engagements with external partners. It also looked at Africa’s developmental agenda (as defined by the AU’s Agenda 2063) and critically evaluated whether the US and China are competitors or partners in their interactions with the African Continent.

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New Chinese Co-director appointed

Professor Yin Fulin

Professor Yin Fulin has been appointed as the new Chinese Co-director of the UJ Confucius Institute. He assumed his duties on Friday 10 February 2017.

He will be with the UJCI for the next two years, working closely with Dr David Monyae, his South African counterpart. Since 2004 Prof Fulin has worked in Nanjing Tech University as Dean of School of Foreign Languages. Currently, he is also a vice-chairman of the Science & Technology Translation Council of Jiangsu Province, and a vice-chairman of Nanjing Translator’s Council.

Commenting on his appointment, he said: “I am thrilled to have been given the responsibility for the Confucius Institute, which is a project within the University that I have long supported.

“I have a keen interest in Chinese culture and have many years’ experience working there, so to have the chance to connect people and promote connections between South Africa and China is a great opportunity.”

Reflecting on the work of the Institute in previous years, the new Director highlighted its success in promoting scholastic and cultural links between Africa and China, which has provided a foundation that he intends to build on during his own tenure.

“The Institute has given people the tools to discover cultural, business and research links with China.”

Welcoming his appointment, Dr David Monyae, South African Co-director of the UJCI, said:

“I am delighted that Professor Yin Fulin has been appointed, and I’m sure that his fresh and dynamic approach – along with his special interest in Mandarin and African and Chinese cultures – will take the Institute to even greater heights.”

Prof Yin spent the past eighteen years as a Lecturer, Head of English Department and became Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Law. During this period, he was awarded a national model teacher award.

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