Students to take Taiwan’s culture to African nations

Staff writer, with CNA

Tue, Sep 03, 2013 - Page 4

Students from Taipei National University of the Arts (TNUA) are gearing up to bring a taste of local culture to Africa when they visit Burkina Faso and Sao Tome and Principe — which have diplomatic relations with Taiwan, — this month.

Twelve students and a university professor will depart tomorrow on their two-week tour, which will see them showcasing Taiwanese folk songs, martial arts, modern dance, as well as a unique percussion performance consisting of drumming everyday objects and even parts of their own bodies, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday.

The group also plans to hold workshops to interact with people from the two countries, the ministry said.

“I hope the students will take this opportunity to deepen bilateral exchanges and friendship,” Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Simon Ko (柯森耀) told reporters at a pre-tour conference.

The students, who come from the university’s collegiate and graduate institutes of dance, music and theater arts, said they are looking forward to the trip.

“We may have difficulty communicating verbally, but through the language of dance we can engage with our audiences,” Justin Hsu, a student at the university’s Graduate Institute of Dance, said.

Chou Yun-ju a doctoral candidate at the university’s School of Music, said she was nervous, but excited to teach their African hosts how to create the implements used as Taiwanese instruments.

“We will teach them to make percussion instruments out of tools used for daily life,” Chou said, explaining that this would form part of the series of workshops.

David Wang (王建業), Department of West Asian and African Affairs director-general will lead the group on the trip, the ministry said.

This is the second consecutive year that the ministry has invited university students to head to Africa for cultural exchanges, the ministry said.