The Chinese Embassy in Banjul yesterday – Tuesday – hosted a “Talk to Taikonauts” activity for Gambian students at the Embassy’s premises in Bililo.
The online talk with Taikonauts from the Tiangong Space Station was meant for knowledge sharing. It also provided a platform for brilliant young minds across Africa to exchange with Taikonauts on such topics as how the space station works, what it is like to live there, and how scientific research is conducted in space.
The main venue for the activity was the AU Headquarters while the sub venues were Algeria, Egypt, Ethiopia, Namibia, Nigeria, Senegal, Somalia, South Africa.
It was hosted by Mission of China to the African Union, The African Union Commission, and China Manned Space Agency.
China had its first man-made satellite, the Dong Fang Hong 1, launched into space in 1970.
With decades of arduous efforts, China is now a global leader in space technology, and champions in international cooperation in this regard. China’s BeiDou Navigation System provides quality services to over 100 countries, including many in Africa.
His Excellency Liu Jin, People’s Republic of China Ambassador to The Gambia in his remarks at the Talk to Taikonauts activity described the activity as a special talk and a novel way to seek knowledge, saying he hoped the students draw inspiration from it.
“Exploring the vast cosmos has always been a quest of humanity. In ancient China, scientists developed astrological theories through observations and experiments, and innovators even pioneered rudimentary rockets for reaching the outer space. Similar exercises are found in the history of a few other civilizations too, including some in Africa,” he explained.
He added that in contemporary times, the fast advancement of technology made it possible to explore the universe through more diverse means, saying that shortly after the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, conducting space activities was put on the agenda.
He expressed happiness with aspiration and passion from Gambian youths, saying he is more than convinced that The Gambia is also a country of hope, that Africa is a continent with a bright future.
“With closer China-Africa cooperation in science and technology carried out, I could even imagine that someday in the future, the Taikonauts talking with youngsters on earth could be you!,” he concluded.
Fatima B. Ceesay, a student from Nusrat Senior Secondary School who attended the Talk to Taikonauts, described the activity as a big opportunity for them, saying as science students, the experience can motivate them to become Taikonauts in future.