Western discourses on the Chinese presence in Africa

  • Ross Anthony


Elevator conversations can tell us a lot about public discourses. I recently struck up a conversation with a man in an elevator. When I told the man that my job entailed researching the Chinese presence in Africa, he responded with the comment: “We‟d better keep an eye on them, soon they will be taking over the entire continent”. His response did not shock me if only because it was the most recent of a litany of likeminded comments I had heard since my return to South Africa a few months ago. Similarly, in my preced-ing years spent in the United Kingdom, protests of “neocolonialism”, “exploitation” and “propping up tyrants” arose almost as knee-jerk reactions to the topic of China-Africa relations.