KAMPALA, May 21 (Xinhua) -- Deep in rural central Uganda, a group of eight students gather around their teacher to learn the Chinese language as they prepare for a future where China plays a critical role in world socio-economic affairs.
These students at Everest College in Luwero district are the new breed of youths in rural Uganda learning the Chinese language and cultures.
As the world commemorates World Culture Day on Tuesday, Namisi Moses Apollo, the students' Chinese language teacher told Xinhua in a recent interview that the passion the Chinese have for their culture is a reminder to Africans to always cherish what they have.
"The way the Chinese cherish their culture is a reminder to us Africans that we need to love our cultures. Cultures are what define a society," Namisi said.
He said, based on his experience as a former student in China and his interaction with the Chinese community in Uganda, the Asian country cherishes cultural diversity.
Oswald Ndoleriire, the co-director of the Confucius Institute at Makerere University told Xinhua in a recent interview that African cultures have over the years withstood demonization attempts especially by the continent's former Western colonial powers.
Ndoleriire argued that unlike the West, China is not playing a domineering dictating what Africa should do or not.
"The Chinese are coming because first of all they feel like they have something to offer, they are a group of disciplined people," he said.
"It is up to Africans to work with them to take up the challenge, the competition to learn from them," he added.
Peace Regis Mutuuzo, Uganda's minister of state for culture in a statement on Tuesday said a society must preserve its culture because it is culture that defines its identity.
The minister said Uganda has enacted several laws to ensure the preservation of the cultures of the 65 indigenous communities in the country.
She said the country has several cultural institutions that are helping to pass on diverse cultures to the youths. She cited Buganda Kingdom's Ekisaakate kya Nnabagereka, where the young people are brought together to learn about Buganda's norms, values and practices that are helpful to their lives.
Other kingdoms in the country have similar camps where positive cultural values are passed on to the youths.
At the national level, the minister said government has rehabilitated the Uganda Cultural Center, to support artistic and theater works.
She said at the regional level, Uganda continues to support and participate in the different cultural festivals like the East African Arts and Culture Festival which takes place in the Tanzanian port city of Dar es Salaam.
She said the ministry has also proposed to the government to establish a Kiswahili Council to strengthen the learning, use and promotion of Kiswahili language in Uganda. Kiswahili is largely spoken in other parts of east Africa.