Covering Cinema From All Across The African Diaspora

PRINT - Welcome To Nigeriatown... In China

We know a lot about the recent Chinese "invasion" of African countries, in what has effectively been described by many as 21st century colonization of the continent; but we've heard very little of the story from the other side - the Africans who have been exported to China, as part of this economic exchange agreement between the continent and the Asian country.

The current issue of The New Yorker contains an article about the economic, social, and religious lives of African merchants living in China, in what some Nigerians there are calling Nigeriatown, AKA Chocolate City.

This is all very interesting to me, and worth paying attention to, on all fronts. Globalization is the name of the game; but, who's really benefiting in this arrangement? Answers vary depending on who you ask.

Time will answer that question.

One thing is certain - given the inevitable couplings occurring between Nigerian men and Chinese women in China, as mentioned in the New Yorker piece, China's overall complexion is going to gradually change in years to come. The shift will sit comfortably amongst all the other "post-racial," "Obama effect" hysteria we've been hearing about since the inauguration last month - even though this one is years older than Obama's campaign.

It would make for an interesting, revealing film - the life of an African man/woman/child in Guangzhou.

Might we see Nollywood movies infiltrate Chinese culture, and vice-versa, one influencing the other?

Click the image below to listen to and view New Yorker writer, Evan Osnos, narrate a 3 1/2-minute audio slide show summarizing the piece.



  1. SolShine7 said...

    Very interesting. I'm glad this issue is being documented.

  2. Undercover Black Man said...

    Very cool. I'm fascinated with diasporas.

    Discovered a couple of years ago that Bangkok, Thailand, has a lot of African immigrants as well... which has influenced the restaurant and night-club culture.

    There's a research paper online. Scholar says: "In Bangkok, the Nana and Watergate have become virtual homes for African and Middle Eastern communities who continue to recreate boundaries between Congolese, Liberians, Ghaneans or Nigerians who all have their own hang out places and specific activities in the urban space."

    The paper can be read online at this link.

  3. The Obenson Report said...

    Thanks for the link UBM.

  4. Black Film Academy said...

    This would make for a very interesting documentary. I'm also fascinated by the prospect of the Chinese influencing Nollywood films. Hmmm.

  5. The Wendilicious Wonder said...

    This reminds me of stories I heard about Nigerian students in Russia before the advent of capitalism and proliferation of the oligarchocracy.

    Apparently, Nigerians (and no doubt other African patriots) were encouraged to study in Russia to the point where they could afford to ride around in posh cars, set up profitable businesses (usually on some black market level) and get all the hot chicks...

    Needless to say, they weren't always appreciated by the locals who often responded with rashes of violent attacks on them.

    Will be interesting to see how things develop in China, especially in this Obama obsessed, "post-racial" era.

    Mind you, a friend of mine who has travelled a lot says that if she goes somewhere remote and is told there's only one black man in the place, she fully expects him to be Nigerian... and to be running some kind of trading post! LOL.

  6. Anonymous said...

    so you know what i've got planned to do when i visit china. i wish i could get paid to travel and check out these sort of things. with a camera on a mission.

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