25 years ago, China and South Africa were largely estranged from one another. The two countries didn’t even recognize each other recognize each other as the former apartheid government in Pretoria maintained diplomatic ties with China’s bitter rival in Taiwan.
Back then it would have been inconceivable that China would become South Africa’s largest trading partner, a faithful ally of the ruling African National Congress party and the single largest destination for Chinese investment in Africa.
Wits University postdoctoral research fellow Christopher Williams has closely followed the rise of China-South Africa relations from the beginning when former South African president Nelson Mandela formerly recognized China in 1998. Christopher joins Eric & Cobus to explain why this relationship has become so important for both countries.
- Quartz Africa: The backstory of how South Africa ditched Taiwan for China by Christopher Williams
- Quartz Africa: Chinese migrants have changed the face of South Africa. Now they’re leaving by Lily Kuo
- Huffington Post: China’s Relationship With South Africa Is More Complex Than It May Seem by Eric Olander and Cobus van Staden
About Christopher Williams:
Christopher Williams’ research interests include foreign policy decision-making and the foreign and security policies of African states. His dissertation examines South African peacemaking in Africa during the Nelson Mandela Administration, with a particular focus on how South Africa’s own negotiated transition impacted its later conflict resolution efforts. With support from Harvard’s Programme on Negotiation and the Fletcher School, Chris has conducted extensive archival research throughout South Africa. Before he began his doctoral studies, Chris worked as the managing producer and research director at America Abroad, a monthly radio documentary on international affairs that aired on public radio stations in the United States and internationally.
- Get a daily email packed with the latest China-Africa news and analysis.
- Read exclusive insights on the key trends shaping China-Africa relations.
- Connect with leading professionals on the China- Africa Experts Network.