Monthly Archives: April 2014

[Music] Listen to the music Nigerians are singing in China: ‘Dibaocha’ by Dibaocha


[Media Reports]: A Nigerian hero in China?

Lei Feng’s African brother

He had never heard of China’s icon of selflessness before he arrived in the country, but this unusual young man from Nigeria is carrying on the good work of China’s hero soldier. Liu Kun in Wuhan and Han Bingbin in Beijing report on a dedicated charity worker.

Adam Musa’s week begins with a crowded two-hour bus ride for a flag-raising ceremony at Chunmiao Primary School, a compound of old classrooms for the children of migrant workers on the outskirts of Wuhan, the capital of Central China’s Hubei province.

An hour later, the young Nigerian steps in front of a room full of expectant students, some of whom recently organized a dance exhibition for their foreign teacher that moved him to tears… [Click Here to keep reading]

Screen Shot 2014-04-27 at 5.15.33 pm

[Music] Listen to the music Nigerians are producing in China: ‘Just Give It A Try’ by Flame Ramadan

Nigerian Flame Ramadan, directly from the heart of Guangzhou, China

[Video] “Chocolate City”?: Walk with me through the place where most Africans congregate in Guangzhou

What you’ll see in the videos below is part of Dengfeng (登峰村)—an “urban village” (城中村) that looks more like a rundown neighbourhood than a village. Dengfeng is one of the hundreds of villages that in the last few decades have been engulfed by Guangzhou’s booming urban expansion. Historically, China’s internal migrants have tended to congregate in the ‘relatively marginal’ settings of these urban villages, where the costs of living are lower. As Guangzhou’s re-articulation into the global economy took hold, Dengfeng’s strategic geographical location (a short walk from Guangzhou Railway Station and across from Tianxiu Building (天秀大厦)—a centre for Chinese, Middle Eastern and African import-export activities), made it a centre not only for translocal but also for transnational exchanges. Over the last 15 years, the whole area has been radically transformed as a consequence of the constant presence and recurrence of individuals from the Middle East, South Asia and Africa, and by their interactions with the continuous transprovincial flow of internal migrants from the Chinese hinterland.


These are fragments of a work-in-progress part of the Open City project, a documentary series exploring the lives of diasporic subjects in Asia. Directed by Kim Soyoung and Kang Jinseok. As you can see, the so-called ‘Chocolate City’ is not really a ‘Chocolate City’ and more of a multiethnic urban (transnational) space.



[Media Report]: People’s Daily coverage of ‘Africans in Guangzhou’

Click on the images to see the 15-image slideshow and full report
Photos: Li Dong

Screen Shot 2014-04-24 at 4.10.46 pm Screen Shot 2014-04-24 at 4.10.14 pm

The emergence of an “African street” in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, was a very unusual phenomenon for China. In the 1980s and 1990s, people told stories about Chinese heading abroad to make a living overseas, but 30 years later immigrants are flocking into China as well. To many Chinese people, the emergence of the African street is like a mirror image of the Chinatowns in other countries. 

Baohan Zhijie, located at the center of Guangzhou, is the most concentrated street for black people in the city, because of its convenient location. For Africans who have just arrived in Guangzhou, the advantages can be easily seen as shopping malls, wholesale markets, subway stations and hotels surround the area.

[Research] Africans in Guangzhou (China): recent academic resources list

Over the last two years, I have received several emails asking me for resources and bibliography about Africans in China, so here I share a fragment of my bibliography on Africans in Guangzhou. I may be missing one or two articles, so if you know of any other resource that should be on this list let me know, and I’ll add it.Although there are some 20 entries, note that the group of researchers is still small around 6 or 7 people. So, there is plenty of room for more people to come and join the research. Soon, I’ll publish some suggestions for further research areas.  

Resources appear in a chronological order (conveniently for me:)

Castillo, Roberto. 2014. “Feeling at home in the “Chocolate City”: an exploration of place-making practices and structures of belonging amongst Africans in Guangzhou.” Inter-Asia Cultural Studies 15 (2).

Bodomo, Adams. 2014. “The African Traveller and the Chinese Customs Official: Ethnic Minority Profiling at Border Check Points in Hong Kong and China?” Journal of African American Studies (June 2014).

Lan, Shanshan. 2014. “State Regulation of Undocumented African Migrants in China: A Multi-scalar Analysis.” Journal of African and Asian Studies.

Pang, Ching Lin, and Ding Yuan. 2013. “Chocolate City as a Concept and as a visible African Space of Change and Diversity.” 对经济社会转型的探讨:中国的城市化,工业化和民族文化传承/黄忠彩,张继焦。

Haugen, Heidi. 2013. “China’s recruitment of African university students: policy efficacy and unintended outcomes.” Globalisation, Societies and Education 11 (3).

Haugen, Heidi. 2013.“African Pentecostal Migrants in China: Marginalization and the Alternative Geography of a Mission Theology.” African Studies Review 56 (1): 81-102.

Lyons, Michal et al. 2012. “In the Dragon’s Den: African Traders in Guangzhou.” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 38 (5): 869-888.

Bredeloup, Sylvie. 2012. “African Trading Post in Guangzhou: Emergeng or Recurrent Commercial Form?” African Diaspora 5 (1): 27-50.

Bodomo, Adams, and Grace Ma. 2012. “We Are What We Eat: Food in the Process of Community Formation and Identity Shaping among African Traders in Guangzhou and Yiwu.” African Diaspora 5 (1): 3-26.

Bodomo, Adams. 2012. Africans in China: A Sociocultural Study and its Implications on Africa-China Relations. New York: Cambria Press.

Haugen, Heidi. 2012. “Nigerians in China: A Second State of Immobility.” International Migration 50 (2): 65–80.

Li, Zhigang, Michael Lyons, and Alison Brown. 2012. “China’s Chocolate City: An Ethnic Enclave in a Changing Landscape.” African Diaspora 5 (1): 51–72.

Mathews, Gordon, and Yang. 2012. “How Africans Pursue Low-End Globalization in Hong Kong and Mainland China.” Journal of Current Chinese Affairs 41 (2): 95–120.

Haugen, Heidi. 2011. “Chinese Exports to Africa: Competition, Complementarity and Cooperation between Micro-Level Actors.” Forum for Development Studies 38: 157–176.

Bodomo, Adams, and Grace Ma. 2010. “From Guangzhou to Yiwu: Emerging Facets of the African Diaspora in China.” International Journal of African Renaissance Studies 5 (2).

Bodomo, Adams. 2010. “The African Trading Community in Guangzhou: An Emerging Bridge for Africa-China Relations.” China Quarterly 203: 693–707.

Bertoncello, Brigitte, and Sylvie Bredeloup. 2009. “Chine-Afrique ou la valse des entrepreneurs-migrants.” Revue Européenne des Migrations Internationales 25 (1): 45–70.

Li, Zhigang, Laurence J. C. Ma, and Desheng Xue. 2009. “An African Enclave in China: The Making of a New Transnational Urban Space.” Eurasian Geography and Economics 50 (6): 699–719.

Le Bail, Helene. 2009. “Foreign Migration to China’s City-Markets: the Case of African Merchants.” Asie Visions 19: 1-24.

Rennie, Namvula. 2009. “The Lion and the Dragon: African Experiences in China.” Journal of African Media Studies 1 (3): 379-414.

Zhang, Li. 2008. “Ethnic Congregation in a Globalizing City: The Case of Guangzhou, China.” Cities 25 (6): 383–395.

Li, Zhigang, Desheng Xue, Lyons Michael, and Alison Brown. 2008. “The African Enclave of Guangzhou: A Case Study of Xiaobeilu.” Acta Geographica Sinica 63 (2): 207–218.

Bertoncello, Brigitte, and Sylvie Bredeloup. 2007. “The Emergence of New African ‘Trading Posts’ in Hong Kong and Guangzhou.” China Perspectives 1: 94-105.

[Music] Dibaocha Nigerian hip-hop artist in Guangzhou

A short piece on Dibaocha’s career in China – by Re Lim