Over the last decade, countless Africans have been moving between China and Africa. While Africans in Guangzhou have been generally portrayed as a wave of ‘immigrant traders’, they arrive in China for myriad reasons, occupy multiple (usually transient) emplacements, and engage in diverse activities. By following the stories and insights of two Nigerian community leaders, this article explores the place-making processes through which individuals and collectives negotiate their everyday lives in Guangzhou under conditions of uncertainty. Throughout the article, I suggest that despite different trajectories and emplacements, precarity is a common thread running through most accounts of Africans in the city. While sometimes paralysing, I argue that this precarity functions as a trigger encouraging individuals to develop structures of solidarity and networks of support (i.e. sporting clubs and community offices), which are crucial sites for individual and collective attempts to ‘feel at home’ while on the move in China.
- Africans in China