In the video Cool Wenzhou, young Africans express their gratitude to their host city (SCREENSHOT)
The 2021 China-Africa Video and Photo Competition has sparked a lot of excitement, drawing extensive participation of Chinese and African contestants from all walks of life since its launch in May. In the end, more than 2,500 entries were received from over 40 nations, with 90 being shortlisted for online voting and jury selection. As of September 5, 700,000 votes have been cast on the official website and the China Media Group Mobile portal.
The competition is jointly sponsored by the Secretariat of the Chinese Follow-up Committee of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) and China International Publishing Group (CIPG), with the theme of Friendship in Focus, Together for Future.
According to Gao Anming, Vice President and Editor in Chief of CIPG, this year's competition is more popular, with a higher number and quality of entries than the previous two years.
Diversity of topics
The content of the entries vividly show various aspects of people-to-people exchanges between Africa and China, and reflect the integration of Chinese or Africans in their respective host countries.
Brett Lyndall Singh, a pediatrician with a master's degree from Wenzhou Medical University (WMU), is a good example. The 27-year-old South African doctor recalled his experience as a volunteer in an anti-COVID-19 task group at WMU during the height of the epidemic in China. His MedTech company, AOM Group, also provided medical equipment to South Africa's worst-affected areas. As one of the finalists in the competition, Singh values such cultural activities. "These platforms provide a good opportunity for many Africans to share their stories with China and Africa, as well as to play a part in the long-term growth of their institution and country," he told ChinAfrica.
Chen Cheng, a 40-year-old Xinhua news agency photographer and reporter, took out his camera to photograph Hu Zijing's acupuncture classes at the University of Johannesburg. This 45-student training program, which began in February 2020, attracted over a thousand applications for the second semester of the 2020-2021 academic year. The bulk of disciplines had to shift online due to the pandemic, with the exception of the twice-weekly face-to-face acupuncture classes. The photographer has caught the enthusiasm of young South Africans for traditional Chinese medicine in a series of photographs.
The two Congolese protagonists in the video Community Volunteer Work are well integrated into the local community in Guangzhou (SCREENSHOT)
Inventiveness and virtuosity
The panel of judges includes Egyptian laureate of the Chinese Government Friendship Award, Hosam Farouk Elmaghrabi. In recent years, as the host of a CIPG-produced program, he has gathered a plethora of knowledge in short video production. His works targeting Arab audiences and highlighting his time in China have earned a number of national honors. He said he is immensely pleased with the finalists' inventiveness like in the video entry Cool Wenzhou.
This one is different in form from traditional short videos, as it was inspired by the MTV music channel. Two students, Michaela Tahlia Singh (South Africa) and Jeniffer Tavira (Angola), created a promotional song for the city of Wenzhou, east China's Zhejiang Province, where they were hosted. They are flanked by a group of young African dancers in the video. The music video, according to Elmaghrabi, portrays Africans' intrinsic love of music and dance, as well as their joyous spirit. "Good communication requires correct shape," he explained. "The audience can clearly perceive the group's great connection to Wenzhou, which they consider their second home, through the song's lyrics and dancing."
Furthermore, the Egyptian judge is awestruck by some of the contestants' techniques, as seen in the video Take Traditional Chinese Medicine Home. While studying at Jiangxi University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Nigerian protagonist Ufot Irene Iniobong developed her affinity for Chinese pharmacopoeia and moxibustion. She intends to use the knowledge she has gained in university to help people of her country once she has graduated. The film crew produced most of the audiovisual without resorting to special effects. "The usage of Dutch angle in various portions gives the video a style all its own," Elmaghrabi explained. "When shooting indoors, the lighting is also a visual delight." According to him, the warm ambiance created by all of these tactics complements TCM's distinctive characteristics.
Chen Cheng’s series of photos immortalizes an acupuncture class at the University of Johannesburg (CHEN CHENG)
This year, the event organizers used Vskit to promote the contest to the general audience in Africa. Participants in the micro-video category had the option of uploading their videos directly to the platform. The contest's main promotional video had 31.7 million views. By September 12, almost 600,000 Internet users in Africa had indicated their support for the finalist entries on Vskit by clicking on the related icon.
Along with the organizers, certain institutions, like the Africa Guangdong Business Association (AGBA), participated in the promotion within their communities. The AGBA began promoting the competition to colleges and enterprises in Guangdong, as well as associations engaged in Africa-Guangdong business trade, almost immediately after it was launched. The AGBA chose and revised 20 of the 50 or so entries received before submitting them to the organizers, and two were chosen for the final stages. Viewers may watch the collaborative efforts of African social workers and volunteers in community government in the finalist video Community Volunteer Work.
According to Huo Jiangtao, Vice President of the AGBA, "Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong Province, is home to China's largest African community and hence a treasure trove for cross-cultural contact between the African and Chinese peoples." That is why she is excited to use opportunities like this competition to share inspiring stories. "To increase mutual understanding, we'd like to see more similar cultural and creative events," she said.
(Print Edition Title: Testimony to Friendship)
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