Zimbabwe Digital News
Martial arts experts Thor van der Mescht, McPherson Yaseen and Son Wesly came out tops in their respective categories to be crowned champions at the South Africa/China Wushu Martial Arts Festival this week.
The three competitors emerged winners during a fun-filled day of martial arts, culture, cuisine, technology, film, investments and bi-national co-operation as the two countries celebrated 20 years of full diplomatic relations which were formally established in 1998.
Van der Mescht, from the SA Wushu Federation came out number one ahead of Musa Mahlaba (Confucius Institute, DUT) and Kevin Isaacs (Confucius Institute, UJ) in the traditional Single Long Weapon Category.
Yaseen (Confucius Institute, UJ) was the winner ahead of Jason Chen (SA Chinese Language Education Foundation) and Leibrandt Ameer (Confucius Institute, UJ) and in the Stipulates Fist competition, while Wesly (Confucius Institute, UJ) came out tops ahead of Mhlengi Shabalala (Confucius Institute, DUT) and Monyama Elvis (Confucius Institute, UJ) in the Changquan competition.
Speaking at the event Chinese counsellor for cultural affairs in South Africa Zheng Wen said that the Wushu Martial Festival was the first in a series of planned events to mark the 20th anniversary in diplomatic relations between China and South Africa.
“The relations between China and South Africa are important in the global context because of the traditional historical ties between Chinese people and continental Africa. The relations are even more important nowadays because of the unity that exists in the Brics group of nations, and this festival is going to kick-start a year of celebrations between China and South Africa. This is designed to boost the massive potential that exists in trade, culture, diplomacy and co-operation in a myriad of global affairs,” Wen said.
From small time partnerships prior to 1998 – to high profile partnerships in the Brics group of countries
Over 50 contestants took part in 36 martial arts categories, and while there was fierce competition among the participants, the crowd of diplomats and officials who attended the launch event were treated to an oath and lightning ceremony as well as a lion dance, and traditional Chinese cuisine
The Wushu Festival is expected to be a nation-wide competition in South Africa, and will be held on an annual basis, the festival organisers said.
In 1998, China and South Africa formally established diplomatic relations and opened up a new frontier for the development of bilateral relations.
Over the past twenty years, with joint efforts on both sides, China and South Africa have enjoyed comprehensive and indepth development, achieving a major leapfrog from small time partnerships prior to 1998 – to high profile partnerships in the Brics group of countries.
The Wushu festival was organised in conjunction with the South Africa Confucius Institute (Confusius Class): themed Promoting Chinese Wushu Culture and Strengthening China-South Africa Cultural Exchanges.
The tournament was sponsored by the Chinese embassy in South Africa, the Confucius Institute headquarters at UJ, the Chinese consulate general in Johannesburg, and the South African Wushu Federation.
The tournament was also supported by the South Africa Chinese Language Education Foundation, Star Times Media (South Africa Beijing Tongrentang) and the Global Max Media Group which recently bought a radio station in Zimbabwe.
Efforts are being made to make the tournament a nationwide annual Wushu competition in South Africa, and a flagship of the South Africa/China cultural exchange in order to build up a platform for all players and martial art enthusiasts to exchange and enjoy the traditional Wushu culture.
The event was addressed by University of Johannesburg Vice Chancellor Prof Tshilidzi Marwala, by Chinese embassy Counsellor Wen and President of the SA Wushu Federation, Mr Jurgens Lamprecht.
Diplomats and guests lineup for a photoshoot at the launch of the Wushu Cultural Festival at UJ this week.
Contestants and perfomers join diplomats and guests for a photoshoot at the launch of the Wushu Cultural Festival at UJ this week.
An official from StarSat Digital Satellite Television shows some of his organisation’s offerings at the launch of the SA China Wushu Cultural Festival this week.
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