The Chinese century and the City of Gold : on race and labor
The Chinese in Africa / Africans in China Research Network Conference Organising Committee in collaboration with the Centre for Cultural Research and Development at Lingnan University, Hong Kong; and the Institute for Emerging Markets at HKUST
CAAC2021 6th Online Mini-symposium : Ethnographies of Mobility : Circular Migration and Uneven Geographies
Online Session via Zoom
This paper examines how the history of racialized migrant labour across the region makes possible capital accumulation among Chinese migrants to South Africa. Decades after the end of mine migrancy, the system of racialized migrant labour on which mining depended, Chinese migrant traders rely on the casual labour of an African precariat, migrants from the main sending countries to the mines who continue generations of journeying to the City of Gold and are racialized anew. Engaging ethnographic fieldwork with historical analysis, Huang illustrates how circular migration and the devaluation of African migrant labour born on the goldfields persist, perhaps unexpectedly, at Chinese wholesale malls located along Johannesburg's old mining belt. The paper proposes a palimpsestic approach to thinking about Chinese and African futures. The unfolding "Chinese Century" does not begin and end with the arrival of Chinese migrants but is layered with longer histories of racial capitalism, colonialism, migrancy, and extraction in the Golden City, including the debris of European imperial centuries.
Huang, M. (2021, July 2). The Chinese century and the City of Gold: On race and labor [Video podcast]. Retrieved from https://commons.ln.edu.hk/videos/901/