By Hassan Isilow
JOHANNESBURG (AA) - A center run by the Turkish government has become a hub for education and cultural activities in Johannesburg, its coordinator in South Africa said Tuesday.
"Many South Africans come to our institute every day inquiring about Turkey and which sites to visit as well as those seeking to study in Turkey," Gokhan Kahraman told Anadolu Agency.
The Yunus Emre Institute was established two years ago in Johannesburg.
Last year, the institute also sent Media Studies students from a South African university to attend the Turkish cinema summer school in Turkey. They were introduced to the works of famous Turkish actors Ediz Hun and Hulya Kocyigit.
He said they always advise South African students who approach them to apply for Turkish scholarship programs.
Kahraman added that South Africans are showing growing interest in the Turkish language and culture, with many enrolling at the institute to study courses ranging from Turkish language to calligraphy and marbling.
‘‘Our new term for 2019 has already commenced and we managed to register 56 students across diverse communities in Johannesburg,’’ he said.
He said in October the institute will invite famous Turkish chefs to hold cooking classes.
‘‘We shall also organize a conference next month in Ankara to discuss the life and mission of late South African leader Nelson Mandela. We hope the conference will promote some of his ideas and contribution to democracy,’’ he said.
He said the institute sends at least six students to Turkey every year to learn the Turkish language and culture by traveling to touristic and historical places.
It also promotes science diplomacy by connecting universities in both countries.
The institute also launched the first Turkish library in sub-Saharan Africa, which will benefit both South African and Turkish researchers with more than 10,000 essential books and materials.
Since its establishment in 2009, the Yunus Emre Institute has taught Turkish to more than 100,000 people in 48 countries through 58 cultural centers.
It is named after renowned poet Yunus Emre who preached universal human values through his work.