CHINAFRICA Short Video Competition enhances mutual understanding
By Xia Yuanyuan  ·  2021-01-08  ·   Source: NO.1 JANUARY 7, 2021
Vice President and Editor in Chief of China International Publishing Group Gao Anming (second left) poses with grand prize winners in the Second CHINAFRICA Short Video Competition in Beijing on December 8, 2020 (WANG XIANG)
The winners of the Second CHINAFRICA Short Video Competition were announced on December 8, 2020, at award ceremonies held simultaneously in Beijing, Cape Town and Dakar. A short video based on the life and work of an African football coach in China won the grand prize.
"Through the video, I hope to present a real story of people-to-people exchange between China and Africa," said Xu Wei, one of the creators of the video. The short video recounts how Pategou Kamgang Francis, a football coach from Cameroon, trains youth in China.
Launched in August 2020, the competition is hosted by BEIJING REVIEW, a news outlet under China International Publishing Group (CIPG). It is also supported by the Chinese-African People's Friendship Association. With a theme of Working Hand in Hand for a Shared Future, the competition was held in three zones—China, South Africa and Senegal.
Tough criteria
The year 2020 marked the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation. The competition aims to promote China-Africa friendship and enhance people-to-people understanding.
"Compared with the first one, the second competition has more demanding specifications, a larger scale and more participants and entries," said Li Jianguo, Associate Editor in Chief of BEIJING REVIEW.
Li said that after the opening ceremony, the three competition zones collected entries simultaneously. A total of 337 entries were received from 28 countries including 156 from China, 119 from South Africa and 62 from Senegal. After preliminary review, online voting and expert evaluation, 19 entries were chosen as winners.
For final selection, five judges were invited from the three main competition zones to grade the entries based on five criteria—theme, shooting technique, creativity, art and sound effects. Judges were required to give reasons for their scores, to guarantee professionalism and fairness in the selection.
Winning 2,000 yuan ($308.5), Balingouma Obiang, a second prize winner, said she is planning to use the money to buy gifts for her family. "I want to share my triumph with them!" she said.
The prizes for the second competition were more attractive. For third, second and first prizes, 1,000 yuan ($152.9), 2,000 yuan and 3,000 yuan ($458.7) were awarded respectively, and the grand prize winning team scooped 10,000 yuan ($1,529).
The competition received broader support from various institutions, including the co-organizers, South African Independent Media Group, and, a Web portal in Senegal. It is also supported by the Chinese Embassy in South Africa, South African Government Information Office, Chinese Embassy in Senegal, and China Education International Exchange Association.
A dance performance at the award ceremony (WANG XIANG)
Heartwarming stories
"Video is a good way to show real China-Africa relations," Balingouma said. Studying in Nanchang University, Jiangxi Province in east China, the 22-year-old Gabonese girl used her camera to record how she adapted to life in China with the help and love of her Chinese friends.
Zhou Yong, Cultural Counselor of the Chinese Embassy in South Africa, said that after watching the videos several touching scenes are still fresh in his mind.
Among the entries, many told heartwarming stories about China-Africa joint efforts to fight against the novel coronavirus disease pandemic and praised the traditional friendship. Some showed how people in China and African countries supported each other during the pandemic. Others introduced how African student volunteers stood together with Chinese friends to fight the virus. A group of videos showed how Chinese companies helped local residents in Africa to prevent and control the pandemic.
"These vivid and moving video stories have become a positive force helping people overcome the difficulties during the pandemic," said Zhou. "They also remind us of the importance of the healing power of cultural exchange."
His sentiments were echoed by Gao Anming, Vice President and Editor in Chief of CIPG. "It is timely and important to hold this short video competition and encourage the use of this popular form of media to tell stories about China and African countries and their people," Gao said.
This short video competition about China-Africa cooperation shows that audiovisual productions are a powerful vector of transmission, popularization of values and rapprochement between peoples through the magic of technologies of information and communication, said Abdoulaye Diop, Minister of Culture and Communication of Senegal.
"It is precisely through the discovery of other cultures that we become more flexible toward others and that we can understand each other better," the minister said.
Youth exchanges
Zhang Yanqiu, Director of the Africa Communication Research Center at the Communication University of China and one of the judges of the competition, said that the competition is a way to connect youth in China and Africa.
"In the second competition, I found that many contestants or protagonists of the videos are young people. Young people have played an important role in promoting China-Africa friendly relations," Zhang said.
Among the participants, many are from Confucius Institutes in African universities such as Durban University of Technology, University of Cape Town and University of Dakar, and others from Chinese universities including Nanchang University, Nanjing Agricultural University, Beijing Jiaotong University and Dalian University of Foreign Languages. 
(Print Edition Title: Connecting Through the Lens) 
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