The Centre for Chinese Studies

The Centre for Chinese Studies (CCS), at Stellenbosch University, serves as the most prominent and high quality point of reference for the study of China and East Asia on the African continent.

Latest Commentary

The Cultural Revolutions: lessons for South Africa

Picture125 May 2016

In the past year, students across South Africa have risen up, tearing down statues and artworks and burning campus buildings; they have demanded that university rectors’ step down and have forced the ruling government to submit to (some of) their demands. An insistence in overhauling a residual colonial apparatus, viewed as entirely inappropriate for the challenges of 21st Century Africa (inappropriate symbols, inappropriate world views, inappropriate structures), has spread from Cape Town all the way to Oxford. In tandem with this, the ascent of a new political party, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), who don red Mao suits, some, referring to their leader Julius Malema as ‘Maolema’ and, echoing Mao’s famous words, have recently threatened to seize political power through ‘the barrel of a gun’. This month saw the 50th anniversary of the beginning of China’s Great Proletariat Cultural Revolution, launched in 1966 and ending a decade later, upon Mao Zedong’s death in 1976. Mao called for the youth and in particular, university students to rise up against this new ‘emperor’ class. There has been a lot of talk in recent years about how Africa can learn lessons for China: Is not now, more than ever, the perfect time for South Africa to turn to late 20th Century China, to serve as input as it maps out the political project of the 21st Century. [Continue reading]

By Ross AnthonyCCS_Research_Fellow_Ross_Anthony_2014
Interim Director
Centre for Chinese Studies
Stellenbosch University

Important notice

Short Course: China-Africa: Strategy and Skills for Engagement

5 – 8 July 2016

The Centre for Chinese Studies will be hosting a 4-day Short Course on China’s engagement on the African continent, covering its motives, methods of operation and the potential for future engagement.

If your work entails engagement with China, or you are a student considering a career path relating to the East Asia region. Then this course is for you.  Register here



Recent Publications

CCS Discussion Paper: Tanzania-China all-weather friendship from socialism to globalization: a case of relative decline

Discussion paper 01_201601/2016

By Jean-Pierre Cabestan and Jean-Raphaël Chaponnière

How close is the Tanzanian-Chinese partnership today? Bi-lateral trade and Chinese economic activity in Tanzania today is far more significant than in the 1970s; China’s “no strings attached” policy is still attractive and political solidarities and military co-operation have remained relatively strong. However, this bi-lateral relationship does not have the importance, nor the exclusiveness it enjoyed in the heydays of socialism. Today, China must compete economically, politically and culturally with the activism and soft power of a larger group of countries, particularly the United States. Although both in Dar es Salaam and in Beijing this relationship is still presented as “special”, it has lost the structural role that it had until the late 1970s in shaping Sino-African relations. Growing Sino-American and Sino-Western competition in Africa has increased Tanzania’s option and helped it, to some extent, to better defend its own interests. This paper examines Tanzanian-Chinese relations over the past half-century and more particularly since 2005, highlighting how global political, strategic and economic shifts have affected and on the whole reduced, in relative terms, the importance of this bi-lateral relationship.

[Download CCS Discussion Paper 01/2016]

CCS in the Media

Trillion dollar deals: The China-Africa partnership in pictures

10 May 2016CNN logo

A recent report by the Centre for Chinese Studies at Stellenbosch University in Cape Town documented increased Chinese investment in real estate in South Africa and Mauritius, worth about $740 million in the island state since 2005 [Continue reading]