Africa is not a country. It’s a continent. People do tend to forget that or generalize their comments. They also often talk about Africa as a homogenous continent. It’s the continent without hope, the one with Ebola too, a very current topic, or the classic image of poor people and dying children.
So, as there is an emerging interest in Asian activities in Africa, a similar yet kind of reversed effect becomes more and more visible.
Early October 2014, I participated in a panel discussion about an exhibition of documentary photographs of Baohan Street in Guangzhou, a place that I have visited on several research stints in China. It was held at the Global South Studies Center Cologne (GSSC), University of Cologne.
Sitting on a plane from sparkling Dubai to beautiful Mumbai, I kept contemplating how caste manifests itself in such public-private social spaces. I wondered whether names of passengers were examined and passengers ‘arranged’ or ‘served’ accordingly. I wondered how they ‘classified’ me, if at all. We were all treated in the same manner, but caste relations can be very subtle. Which caste do African migrants in India belong to?
One week ago, South Africa was forced to cancel the 14th World Peace Summit, which had been scheduled to start October 13 in Cape Town, after nine former Nobel Peace Laureates and 11 affiliated organizations announced they would boycott the conference.