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South 2 North

Africa 'in a time of chaos'

With China's influence on the continent growing, what are the challenges facing Africa in the next few decades?
Last Modified: 15 Dec 2012 18:02
No subject is off limits in the first ever global talk show hosted from Africa in which Redi Tlhabi talks frankly to inspiring and intriguing personalities from across the world.

A South African of Chinese descent, Dion Chang, a writer and one of Africa's leading trend analysts, grew up looking different from his African peers and he said he often felt sidelined.

But with China's influence on the continent growing, South2North wants to find out whether in his experience old perceptions are changing. He believes that "there's massive change coming and I think if you are scared of change it is a terrifying time. People say that we're essentially in a time of chaos, but I think if you are one that embraces change and new opportunities, it is one of the most exciting times to live."

South Africa has the largest Chinese community on the continent, but how do Chinese feel about China's position in the world? And what will Africa in the world look like in the next few decades?

Dion Chang talks about Chinese communities in Africa, global consumer trends and social media.

"I think it's very much a foreign invasion. When Chinese work groups come in, they bring their own workers, it's a very insular way of investing, but for me I find it preferable to a Bob Geldof charity case coming in and saying ' Oh shame, the poor  Africans can't  do any business' . This is a pure business deal. There's a very strict business agreement: We will build infrastructure and we want something in return and that's the agreement .... There is huge cultural differences - 'a weekend, what's a weekend?' ... If you've been to China and you have watched a skyscraper go up literally before your eyes, it is a polar opposite work ethic to what you generally find on the African continent," explains Chang.

South2North also talks to Clem Sunter, who was a mining magnate in Zambia but came to much wider prominence in early 2001 when he predicted a major terror attack on a Western city. Then in September of that same year came 9/11. According to his book it is the people who have the ability to adapt and be flexible who can expect to succeed.

"There's lots of things that you don't control and therefore as things change, you have to adapt your behaviour like a fox does in a forest and it's the speed of your response that allows you to survive," Sunter says.

Also joining us is one of Africa's top musicians, Lira, to talk about African role models, music and activism as she works to make Africa a better place for future generations.

 

South2North can be seen each week at the following times GMT: Friday: 1930; Saturday: 1430; Sunday: 0430; Monday: 0830.

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Source:
Al Jazeera
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