Sunday, July 13, 2008

Chinese in Africa

Indeed, the Chinese-in-Africa theme cost John Matshikiza his weekly column in the Mail and Guardian or so it seems. And dogged as he is, he continues on the subject. A case of good follow-up journalism, one might say. Yet, in his recent column in The Weekender, he is getting ahead of himself.
This piece proves that one should not write with too much passion. Though it is supposed to be satirical, his reference to Indians asking to become black is quite non-sensical and probably hurtful to many Indians who suffered under apartheid. After all, BEE defines Indians, Coloured and Africans all as black. So there is no need to get reclassified, even for purely material reasons. While one should remain critical to China's advances in Africa, one also needs to maintain a historical perspective of Chinese settlement on the continent and in South Africa and the fragile relationships that were established between newcomers and indigenous peoples. Matshikiza is on the subject a true bull in a China shop.

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