Film Africa 2013: The Africa China Connection (2012)

by Ann Jackson on 13/11/2013


This documentary looks at Africa from the East, rather than the West: showing us how Africans, and especially, Nigerians are finding a way to prosper, and in doing so, throwing off the imposed persona of charity case that the continent has long been saddled with. The view we are given is that of Africans in China trading, in both small and large ways, creating an African product line in the manufacturing giant that is current day China. That ordinary people just finding a way to work manages to create a yearly economy that equals that of the Aid given to Africa by the West.

We see a mixing of Chinese and African in society, with marriages, and in some cases Chinese people moving to Africa. It seems that they have quite a lot in common, including a need to do things for themselves. Their respective governments do not create trade lines and the people have to find a way to create trade without this help.

There’s a narrative running throughout the film considering the important issue of fortress Europe and the cutting off of routes in. That dropping birth rates and an increasingly older, conservative and isolationist generation would see Europe stripped of its long held superiority if it continued to disallow incomers. In this new world, China seems to have taken on the same glow of prosperity as the America of old: open and creating wealth for those who wanted to work. Currently, China issues visas to Africans as a technicality only, fill a form, get a visa: harping back to the old world before Europe and America closed their borders.

The documentary was initially made for the Netherlands by director Pieter van der Houwen (but was not welcomed there), and therefore stressed the need for an open Europe; it didn’t consider if China would develop Africa, nor did it examine what trade and any effect it had within the African economy. It offers a new groundbreaking view of Africa, with a big side of philosophical thought, showing the energy and drive of its people to find a way to live, and as such deserves praise for its bravery in doing so.

Ann has awarded The Africa China Connection (2012) four Torches of Truth

4 torches

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