A Young Mosotho lad, Thabo Tshehlo, Wins 1st Prize at a Provincial Writing Contest in China

By Nvulane Nhlapo

Tshehlo Thabo
Tshehlo Thabo

An 18-year-old Mosotho lad has fought off a tough competition to be named the first runner up in the 2017 ‘Nade Cup’ English Document Writing Competition for College Students in Chongqing, China.

Thabo Tshehlo, who is currently a freshman studying Computer Science and Technology at Chongqing University of Science and Technology in China, has wowed many by winning first prize and receiving a certificate and 1000¥ cash.

On the 21st October 2017, several college students from universities in the Chongqing province and 35 students from his university including 15 international students took part in the writing competition.

The contest involved attending to a few writing questions, writing a series of articles, a formal business letter, two compositions and an application letter.

One does not simply become a first prize winner of a writing competition by chance. Thabo recalled of how passionate he’s always been about English since high school. He excelled in English Language more than his peers did hence when he heard of the competition, that gave him a lot of motivation and a huge interest in taking part. He also wanted to see if he still could write or not and this became a driving force for him as well.

We asked in a tongue-in-cheek exchange on the important features of the competition and how he feels about this huge feat. Below is a transcript of our chat:


What were the most important aspects of the competition?

One of the main aspects of the competition was to test the knowledge of Chinese people on English Language and also motivate them to improve their learning of the language. Most Chinese students are taught English at a very young age, from their primary schools upwards, the same way we are taught other languages like French and English, perhaps from primary. The problem, however, comes in when they grow up and they lose their interest in learning the language and rarely practise it thus winding up forgetting or getting really poor at it.

As a result, The Chongqing Education Commission designed this competition to encourage them to improve their English skills and also compete with other foreign students to see China’s standing compared to other countries.

For me it was but a competition. Seeing as I’m new here I wanted to see where I’d stand compared to other international students and have a feel of the experience of a different competition outside home.


What does winning this competition mean to your college?

The college’s English department works really hard as one other Chinese student also won 3rd prize in the competition. I’m very proud of my college because it has maintained its reputation of being one of the best schools in my location.


What does winning this competition mean for you?

I’m really happy. I have to admit it’s a step ahead in my success and motivation because I now have a plus one in my CV. It has played a major role in boosting my confidence towards approaching such competitions.


Generally, why do you write?

I love the English Language and it’s been one of my favourite subjects during my entire high school life. Apart from that, I love traveling and exploring so since the medium of communication around the world is English, it would really help me a lot in all my plans of traveling. I also personally enjoy English, it’s a very interesting and fun language to learn.


What do you like most about Chongqing?

It is a very mountainous place and I love it because it reminds me of back home. Life here is very interesting, technically a lot. There’s a lot of different experiences I’ve encountered in regard to the lifestyle here. We practically use our phones to do everything; we order things online and pay for them using our phones so there’s no need to carry any cash around. The people here at Chongqing are also very friendly; they are very polite and interested in us foreigners.


Is there anything you want to add onto or mention?

I encourage all my fellow Basotho to try exploring new adventures as I did and also travel. They shouldn’t be afraid to compete if they meet such competitions or anything of a similar kind. No matter who their competition is, they may never know what they will find that might just strike open their future unless they start! I admire how the English Language has grown in our country compared to other countries. It’s a very good thing that it is at the stage it is in our country!