Over the last two decades, the shifts brought about by the emergence of Asia as a key player in global capitalism have led to countless Africans opting for Asian destinations as part of their trade and migration strategies. The implications of the constant ebb and flow of African entrepreneurs in Southern China and the transnational trajectories, connections, and practices they enable have been relatively understudied. This article focuses on place-making practices and structures of belonging surrounding those Africans living in (and circulating through) Guangzhou. Drawing on my fieldwork, I locate possibilities for place-making and belonging within transnational multiethnic microcommunities and highlight practices that have emerged from the assembling of transnational and translocal flows in residential clusters, community organisations, and religious congregations. I contend that the presence and intermingling of diverse transient subjects (both African and Chinese) nurtures “alternative imaginations” of self, place, home, and belonging that alter extant notions of national and cultural identity, ethnicity, and race in twenty-first century Asia.
- Africans in Guangzhou