Masego Mothei: Talks her way to top award

Sesotho, English, Sepedi, Setswana, Afrikaans and French. Add Chinese to that and you have a full mouth of languages spoken by Stellenbosch University student, and OWLAG alumna, Masego Mothei. The Matie student proved she is a whiz at languages recently winning the 16th Chinese Bridge Competition for Foreign College Students. The event, held at Stellenbosch University on 3 June saw twenty participants from six South African universities demonstrating their Chinese language and cultural skills.

The Chinese Bridge Competition is an annual event aimed at promoting intercultural exchanges. Participants are tested on Chinese language proficiency, knowledge of China, Chinese cultural skills and a comprehensive learning ability. Masego shared her first prize with Noxolo Ndara from the University of Johannesburg, both of them qualifying for the semi-final round of the competition in China later this year.

Masego's win marked the eight time that a student from Stellenbosch University has won the Chinese Bridge Competition. The third year BA Languages and Culture student says her win has boosted her confidence in her academic ambitions and future aspirations. She plans on majoring in Chinese Studies and Applied English Language Studies.

Masego’s says her appreciation for the Chinese language began when she started researching the culture. What mesmerized about China she says is the food, the values and principles the Chinese culture holds and the uniqueness of the country. “I am fascinated by it and how different it is to South African culture.”

Her mother tongue is Sesotho and she is fluent in English and speak Sepedi, Setswana, Afrikaans and French.  What she enjoys most about learning Chinese is how surprised and happy Chinese people are when she speaks the language. Recently, Masego recalls, “I was walking down the Rooiplein on campus when I came across a group of Chinese tourists. I greeted them and asked them where in China they are from and what their travel itinerary is, speaking Chinese. They were so surprised and asked me where I had learnt Chinese and asked many other questions. I walked away from that conversation feeling grateful that I could use this language to reach out to a people group with whom I would have never ordinarily interacted with”.

As part of the competition, she performed a three-minute speech on the topic “Dreams enlighten the future” and a talent show. For the talent show, she performed a comedy skit. Masego acknowledges that, “I can’t sing or dance so my Chinese teacher thought that comedy was the best option”.

In her own words she remembers preparing for the competition. “I was nervous at first. I had barely slept. I slept at 2am studying for the written test; there was so much information to memorise. During the speech and talent show I was calm and tried to encourage other participants who felt uneasy.  I honestly can’t believe that I won. The competition was fierce and I was experiencing fatigue. I attest the win to God’s grace and also to the amazing teachers at the Confucius Institute of Stellenbosch University. They were with me every step of the way.”

Masego added, “I was really happy and amazed. The Mandarin section at the Department of Modern Foreign Languages at the University is simply the best in the country. The fact that Stellenbosch University has been the winner of the last seven Chinese Bridge competitions prior to my victory attests to this”.

Her advice to other students considering cultural exchanges like the Chinese bridge competition. “Never underestimate the power of hard work. People notice when you are passionate and put in a lot of effort into what you do. Having a positive attitude will benefit you greatly in learning a new language.”

Published by: Stellenbosch University International | Matie student wins national Chinese competition
Images: Stellenbosch University International


Ms. Oprah Winfrey receives the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the 75th Golden Globes®

Our Founder, Ms. Oprah Winfrey, accepted the Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2018 Golden Globes® on Sunday.

Read More
2017 Matric Results

The seventh graduating class of the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls (OWLAG), affectionately referred to as the O-Mavericks, again achieved a 100% pass rate - completing the National Senior Certificate

Read More
'nOtenkraker by Sisters Harris'

The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls Dance Company collaborated with Art of Motion South Africa in the production, 'nOtenkraker by Sisters Harris', staged at the UJ Theatre from the 8-10 December 2017.

Read More
OWLAG Alumna Hosts World Aids Day Summit

The event hosted many honoured guests, one of them being Rosettenville’s Mpumi Nobiva. Mpumi was admitted to the inaugural class of the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls.

Read More
FedEx partners with The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy to advance education in South Africa

According to the World Bank Group, there are 130 million girls around the world that are not in school. Poverty, cultural norms and practices, living in remote or underserved locations

Read More
O-Mavericks Graduation 2017

On Saturday, 2 December, the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls (OWLAG) celebrated the graduation of their 2017 Matric Class affectionately referred to as the “O-Mavericks”.

Read More
OWLAG on Real Talk with Anele

In November the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls was featured on Real Talk with Anele in celebration of its 10 year anniversary.

Read More
OWLAF Corporate Day 2017

The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy Foundation (OWLAF) hosted its second Corporate Day career networking event

Read More