Sign up for our free China-Africa Week in Review email newsletter
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Follow CAP on Social Media

Listen to the CAP Podcast

The Back Rooms in Johannesburg’s Chinatown

South Africa is home to the largest and one of the oldest Chinese diaspora populations in Africa, dating back hundreds of years. Although there are no precise figures, the ethnic Chinese population in the country is estimated to be at least 300,000.

And during that long history, the Chinese community has often struggled to find a place within South Africa’s complicated racial matrix. Even today, long after the end of apartheid, and despite South Africa’s full embrace of multiculturalism, a sense of “otherness” hangs over the country’s diverse ethnic Chinese communities.

Dartmouth College Assistant Professor Mingwei Huang has spent years studying Chinese migration and assimilation patterns in South Africa, particularly in Johannesburg. She recently contributed a chapter to the new book “Anxious Joburg” where she explored how architecture in Johannesburg’s Chinatown is a manifestation of the Chinese community’s complex history in South Africa.

Show Notes:

Recommended relevant experts to follow:

About Mingwei Huang:

Mingwei Huang is an Assistant Professor at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire. She is an interdisciplinary scholar of race, migration, gender, and sexuality, trained in American Studies and specializing in Afro-Asia and transnational feminism. Her research explores the reconfiguration of race, capitalism, and empire underway in the 21st “Chinese Century” and their historical entanglements with Euro-American colonialism. Huang’s first book is an ethnography of contemporary Chinese capitalism, migration, and world-making in Johannesburg, South Africa that follows the transnational flows of migrants, commodities, and money from China to South Africa and back. My work on the Black Panther Party in China, Sino-African racial antagonisms, and the red-white-blue “China bag” has been published in Scholar & Feminist OnlineRadical History Review, and International Journal of Cultural Studies.

  • 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.

You've reached your free monthly article limit.

Subscribe today for unlimited access.

What is The China-Africa Project?

Independent

The CAP is passionately independent, non-partisan and does not advocate for any country, company or culture.

News

A carefully curated selection of the day’s most important China-Africa stories. Updated 24 hours a day by human editors. No bots, no algorithms.

Analysis

Diverse, often unconventional insights from scholars, analysts, journalist and a variety of stakeholders in the China-Africa discourse.

Networking

A unique professional network of China-Africa scholars, analysts, journalists and other practioners from around the world.