'Chinese Culture Day' debut at GIBS

( ) Updated: 2016-09-01 15:31:02

'Chinese Culture Day' debut at GIBS

Sponsored by the Chinese Consulate in Johannesburg, CAYA and GIBS co-hosted China Culture Day on the GIBS Sandton Campus in South Africa on Aug 30, 2016. [Photo/]

A Chinese cultural event was held at South Africa's top business school for the first time on Tuesday, Aug 30.

The business school of the University of Pretoria, the Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS) hosted the event on its Sandton campus. Speakers included the Chinese Deputy Consul General in Johannesburg, Ren Xiaoxia; GIBS lecturer Matthew Birtch, Mandarin SA representative Lance Long, and chairman of the China Africa Youth Association, Ken Chun. Guests from both South Africa and China enjoyed a traditional Lion Dance, Chinese cuisine and Chinese movies after the seminar.

Ren took the opportunity to explain the importance of such concepts as the Chinese round-table dinner, modesty and respect for teachers. She also pointed out that Chinese culture is a large and ever-changing concept, so much so that even Chinese people can't fully comprehend it.

"Culture is prone to misunderstanding for people who didn't grow up within that particular cultural context. It is not an easy task to understand another culture - especially Chinese culture - for many South Africans. I'm glad that such initiatives keep us on track to get to know each other better," said Ren.

Birtch noted that, because the Chinese economy is vital to Africa's development, South Africa should find a way to align itself with Chinese business culture. Long then elaborated on the cultural differences between South Africa and China. He listed several barriers such as South Africa's colonial history that have challenged Chinese companies wanting to enter the South African market. Chun concluded by affirming that, according to Hofstede's Culture Dimensions theory, China and South Africa have a lot in common.

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