Trailblazers 2015 – Best of the China-Africa Reporting Project

Trailblazers cover insert

Trailblazers 2015 is the first collection of articles published by the Wits China-Africa Reporting Project. The collection features some of the best articles produced by Chinese and African journalists with China-Africa Reporting Project grants from 2009 to 2014. In four sections, the 17 articles range over and between the two regions,from new players in South Sudan to veteran traders in Soweto; from migrants and marriages in Guangzhou to goldminers in Ghana.

By exploring real stories at ground level and navigating polarized debates, the journalism in this volume is ableto enhance our understanding of what is a complex and dynamic China-Africa relationship. This collection does not aimto be a definitive account of all the issues but should rather be considered a snapshot of a period of immense change inChina-Africa dynamics, and a reflection of journalists’ attempts to understand and make sense of these changes.

To download the entire collection in PDF, please click the link below. To download or read online each of the seventeen articles, please scroll down.

DOWNLOAD THE WHOLE COLLECTION (3.18 MB)

For information on how to obtain a print copy of Trailblazers 2015, please contact the project coordinator at africa-china@journalism.co.za.


INTRODUCTION

Background to the Wits China-Africa Reporting Project, and a brief outline of the sections and articles included in Trailblazers 2015. Please click the following link to see the book’s Glossary and Abbreviations.

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SECTION 1: OPPORTUNITIES IN DEVELOPMENT

profile pic poplak and Bloom

Kevin Bloom & Richard Poplak

Feeding frenzy in South Sudan

By Kevin Bloom & Richard Poplak, first published in the Mail & Guardian

After travelling to South Sudan in 2012, South African journalists Kevin Bloom and Richard Poplak describe life in Juba, Africa’s newest capital city, and note the presence and key role played by China.

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John Grobler profile

John Grobler

Angola’s Chinese-built rail link and the scramble to access the region’s resources

By John Grobler, first published in The Africa Report

After visiting Angola in 2014, Namibian journalist John Grobler explores discrete deals between Chinese and local companies to gain control of Angolan railways and to access natural resources in the DRC’s Katanga province.

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Fredrick Mugira

Fredrick Mugira

Chinese consortium to revive Uganda’s copper mines

By Fredrick Mugira, first published on People’s Daily Online

In March 2014 Ugandan journalist Frederick Mugira documented the high hopes among locals in south western Uganda for Chinese investment to revive copper mines that have not been active since 1982.

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Hu Jianlong Profile pic

Hu Jianlong

Chinese companies going for gold in Zambia

By Hu Jianlong, first published in Chinese in Southern Weekly

Hu Jianlong is aChinese journalist who participated in the Wits China-Africa Reporting Project tour to Africa in 2013 during which heinvestigated Chinese investments in Zambia. His article included in this volume explores the continuity and changeinherent in Chinese companies’ arrival and expanding operations in Zambia.

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SECTION 2: LEARNING & ADAPTING

Bob Wekesa

Bob Wekesa

On the trail of China’s dragon head companies in East Africa

By Bob Wekesa

Kenyan journalist, scholar and former Wits China-Africa Reporting Project research associate Bob Wekesa interviewed diplomats, scholars, corporate executives, and managers of aid projects in China and Africa, revealing how the operations of Chinese companies in the region have expanded and evolved.

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Liu Hongqiao

Liu Hongqiao

South China tigers lost in the African wilderness

By Liu Hongqiao

Chinese journalist Liu Hongqiao explores the project aiming to rewild endangered South China tigers in South Africa’s Free State province. In 2013 Liu was awarded an environmental journalism fellowship with the Wits China-Africa Reporting Project in collaboration with the Oxpeckers Centre for Investigative Environmental Journalists, based in Nelspruit on the border of the Kruger National Park. This article was produced by Liu during her three-month stay in South Africa for the fellowship.

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Haggai Matsiko

Haggai Matsiko

Boots on the ground: China’s growing role in peace and security on the continent

By Haggai Matsiko

In 2014 Ugandan journalist Haggai Matsiko used a Wits China-Africa Reporting Project grant to travel to South Sudan and the DRC to report on China’s growing interest to expand its role in peace and security operations in the region and on the continent as a whole.

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Shandukani Mulaudzi

Shandukani Mulaudzi

Johannesburg’s Chinese mall overhaul: Revamping the retail model

By Shandukani Mulaudzi

Shandukani Mulaudzi investigates the growth of Chinese-owned malls in Johannesburg and how their retail model is adapting in the local environment.

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SECTION 3: ISSUES OF CONTENTION

Huang Hongxiang

Huang Hongxiang

Chinese ivory smugglers in Africa

By Huang Hongxiang

Huang Hongxiang is a Chinese journalist who was awarded an environmental journalism fellowship with the Wits China-Africa Reporting Project in collaboration with the Oxpeckers Centre for Investigative Environmental Journalistsin 2013, and his article included here investigates Chinese nationals and local officials involved in ivory smuggling in Mozambique.

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Yang Meng

Yang Meng

Sweltering heat, golden dreams: Chinese galamsey in Ghana

By Yang Meng

Yang Meng, a well-known Chinese investigative  journalist based in Beijing, reports at length on the Chinese gold miners that left poor prospects behind in China and moved to Ghana, where they have a complicated relationship with local officials and competitors, who accuse the Chinese of bringing environmental problems in their wake.

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Jenni Marsh

Jenni Marsh

Bride and prejudice: Afro-Chinese marriages in Guangzhou
By Jenni Marsh

With a Wits China-Africa Reporting Project grant, South China Morning Post journalist Jenni Marsh visited Guangzhou in 2014 to research Afro-Chinese marriages, illustrating the controversy still surrounding them and the challenges faced by African migrants in the city.

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James Wan

James Wan

Chinese herbal medicine death sentence in Uganda

By James Wan

Awarded a Wits China-Africa Reporting Project grant in 2014 to examine the role of Chinese medicine in Uganda, James Wan produced an in-depth account of a multi-level pyramid scheme associated with Chinese traditional medicine operated by a Chinese company in Uganda.

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SECTION 4: MIGRATING & ENGAGING

Chen Xiaochen

Chen Xiaochen

Ploughing in Africa: The story of a Chinese sisal farm in Tanzania

By Chen Xiaochen

Chinese journalist Chen Xiaochen participated in the Wits China-Africa Reporting Project tour to Africa in 2011, and travelled to Tanzania to report on the intrepid Chinese farmers who set up a sisal farm there.

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Simon Allison

Simon Allison

Fixing China’s image, one African student at a time

By Simon Allison

After travelling to Beijing in 2013, South African journalist Simon Allison reports on the Chinese scholarship programme for African students and the latter’s views on living and studying in China.

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Dineo Bendile

Dineo Bendile

Nomads with iPads: The professional expats

By Dineo Bendile

Dineo Bendile profiles professional Chinese expats in South Africa and look at how their business, leisure and sometimes family have developed in the local context.

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Ray Mahlaka

Ray Mahlaka

Chinese traders in Soweto

By Ray Mahlaka

Ray Mahlaka documents the Chinese community in Soweto, including old settlers as well as new arrivals.

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Sam Piranty

Sam Piranty

Economic nomads in Guangzhou, a city of flows

By Sam Piranty

After travelling to Guangzhou in 2013 with a Wits China-Africa Reporting Project grant as part of a migration project looking at trading communities in China, journalist Sam Piranty meets the ‘economic nomads’, i.e. highly mobile African businessmen operating in and passing through the city.

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