People sing a song during the debut Overseas Chinese Spring Festival Gala in Nairobi, Kenya, March 3, 2018. The Kenyan-Chinese Art Troupe was inaugurated on Saturday at the University of Nairobi, followed by the debut Overseas Chinese Spring Festival Gala. (Xinhua/Li Baishun)
by Wang Xiaopeng and Christine Lagat
NAIROBI, March 3 (Xinhua) -- The Kenya-Chinese Art Troupe was inaugurated on Saturday at the University of Nairobi's auditorium followed by the debut Overseas Chinese Spring Festival Gala in the east African nation.
Chinese Ambassador to Kenya Liu Xianfa was joined by executives from Chinese firms operating in the country, faculty members and students from the University of Nairobi to witness the launch of the art troupe in a glittering ceremony attended by an audience of some 800 people.
Observers see the launch of the troupe as a milestone in cultural ties between the two countries.
During the launch ceremony, dozens of Chinese and Kenyans staged electrifying performances, including songs, dances, poetry and martial arts.
The theme of the first Overseas Chinese Spring Festival Gala to be held in Kenya this year was "Silk Road Connects Dreams."
Kenyan audiences said they were impressed by the performances, amid downpour, by the Chinese artists and their Kenyan counterparts.
John Mwangi, a 23-years-old economics major at the University of Nairobi, said it was a refreshing experience to attend the Spring Festival Gala.
"The Chinese songs were sentimental but entertaining and I look forward to attending similar performances in the near future," Mwangi told Xinhua. "It was gratifying to observe how Kenyans have quickly learned and practiced Chinese music and dance."
Gilbert Malonza, a 21-years-old technician, said he felt honored to attend the Spring Festival Gala in his home soil, adding that it signaled positive growth of Sino-Kenya cultural ties.
"The Gala was a great event that I will always cherish. It was an honor to listen and watch singers from both Kenya and China put their best foot forward," said Malonza.
He said that a Kenyan female singer impressed him the most when she belted a sentimental Chinese ballad toward the end of the Spring Festival Gala.
Kenyans who graced the inauguration of Kenya-Chinese art troupe and the Spring Festival Gala thereafter agreed that the events elevated cultural diplomacy between the two countries to a new level.
John Kinyanjui, a 19-year-old civil engineering major at the University of Nairobi, said he was impressed by the speed with which Kenyan youth were mastering Chinese music and dance.
"I have just confirmed beyond doubt that our youth can be good ambassadors for Kenya-China cultural cooperation. They made excellent performances," said Kinyanjui.