It is not only goods, financial capital or technologies that are being traded, negotiated and circulated along the China-led Belt and Road Initiative but also values, emotions and cultural practices. The latter are often decisive when imagining and establishing a transregional infrastructure of the scale of the BRI. This book explores connections and disconnections along
When Julius Nyerere, Tanzania’s first president, spoke about Tanzania’s relations with China many decades ago, he already made one thing clear: Tanzania should see for itself what China intends to do with Tanzania. It should not let others tell it what to do. A lot has changed since then, but one thing has remained the same: Europe still tends to dictate to post-colonial countries what they should think about China, especially when it comes to the issue of human rights. But on what basis? Do human rights really apply to everyone in Europe or only to a select and lucky few? And how does this affect relations between Europe and African countries? This literary essay attempts to provide some answers by examining colonial continuities, the presence of China in Tanzania and the universality of human rights, especially LGBTIQ rights.
At the invitation of Gropius Bau and SAVVY Contemporary under the auspices of Berliner Festspiele, various artists, authors, musicians, filmmakers and thinkers participated in the international exhibition titled ‘Indigo Waves and Other Stories: Re-Navigating the Afrasian Sea and Notions of Diaspora’ that ran from 6th April until 13th August 2023. I was privileged to have been invited to showcase a section of my De:Link // Re:Link BRI research at Humboldt University of Berlin
Berlin has witnessed myriads of events that shaped global politics. One such event is the 1884-1885 Berlin Congo Conference which subdivided Africa amongst colonialists. China often strategically invokes Western colonialism to remind its Global South counterparts that while the West acted colonially -including colonising China- China is interested in cooperation, friendship, trade and development such as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
As part of my visit to Berlin (this past September 2023) to do some work on the De:Link // Re:Link Project involving the Belt and Road Initiative, I had the opportunity (among many other activities such as the pleasant trip to the port of Duisburg, the largest inland port in the world) to read and discuss with some members of the project team, during the De:Link // Re:Link Silk Roads Roundtable, a new book on Africa and Asia by Professor Yoichi Mine of the University of Tokyo.
Unknown to many, Duisburg Port in Germany is the largest inland port in the world and the most significant inland port in central Europe. It consists of 22 port basins and its waters cover an area of 180 hectares. Approximately 60 freight trains travel weekly from Duisburg to Chongqing city in China and vice versa, making the Duisburg Port a key hub of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). At Duisburg Port, 20,000 ships and 25,000 freight trains