A total of 32 South African student leaders from 20 universities left for Shenzhen and two other Chinese cities Monday to interact with their counterparts, and share ideas and experiences.
Chinese Ambassador to South Africa Lin Songtian said the students will spend two weeks in China and visit Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen. They will engage with their Chinese counterparts, and experience China’s high-speed railway, shared bikes and mobile payment.
“The delegation will experience China, and gain a better understanding of China’s present, past and future, traditions and modernity,” Lin said. “It is our sincere hope that when they return they can share with their classmates and families what they have seen in China and the real story of China.”
During the 2018 Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), China announced that 2,000 young Africans would be invited to visit China in the next three years. Lin said this visit is the implementation of the announcement.
“Inviting students to China is a pioneering step by China to promote people-to-people exchanges with South Africa. We sincerely hope that deepening bilateral exchanges and cooperation in such fields as education and youth could add a new dimension to our bilateral relations,” said Lin.
Cape Peninsula University of Technology student Sbusiso Thwala told Xinhua he is excited to visit China. He said there are “phenomenal” things, such as economic growth and poverty reduction, that China has accomplished, which he wants to understand.
Thwala said, “It would be great to interact and learn how China makes a lot of things happen, be it in ICT, 5G, efficient state capacity and functioning. I am looking forward to the trip. I would like to look at the culture and cuisine, and meet people on the street.”
He said he would like to visit the Great Wall and the Forbidden City, among other places. He emphasized that he would be interested in seeing how the best practices and achievements could be used to address the challenges that South Africa faces.
Asispho Solane, who recently completed an honors degree at the University of Western Cape, said: “I want to understand how they run their cities, policing and see how that could be implemented in South Africa to address the challenges we have.”