Chinatowns in Africa

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Chinatown Port Louis.JPG
Port Louis Chinatown
Alternative Chinese name
Traditional Chinese中國城
Simplified Chinese中国城
Second alternative Chinese name
Traditional Chinese華埠
Simplified Chinese华埠

This article discusses Chinatowns in Africa. There are least three major Chinatowns in Africa.

As former colonies of Europe, the coastal African nations of Madagascar, Mauritius, and South Africa were the main receiving points of Chinese immigrants from the 1890s to the early part of the 20th century. The early Chinese arrived to labour in the Transvaal gold mines of South Africa and on the Tananrive Tamatave railway of Madagascar. Many of these Chinese immigrants were exploited.

Today, South Africa remains the top African destination for first-generation Chinese-speaking immigrants.


Madagascar has received some Chinese immigrants. In Madagascar, there are about 30,000 Chinese, the majority of them came from the Pearl River Delta in Guangdong. A Chinatown, called Quartier Chinois, is located in Antananarivo.


Port Louis Chinatown

The Chinatown or Quartier chinois is in the city of Port Louis on rue Royale. The Hakka Chinese are the dominant group in Mauritius. Its Chinatown was founded in 1944. The Chinatown of Port Louis hosts a very popular "Chinese Food and Cultural Festival" every year, which is appreciated by all Mauritians in general.


The sole and quickly growing Chinatown of North Africa is the Quartier chinois located on rue Mohamed Ben Ahmed Lekrik in the Derb Omar district of Casablanca. Many immigrants in Casablanca's Chinatown engage in the wholesale apparel businesses, selling fair-quality products at low prices.

South Africa[edit]

A street scene of the Chinatown in Cyrildene, Johannesburg.

Inner-city Johannesburg has a declining Chinatown on Commissioner Street, but a newer Chinatown can be found on Derrick Avenue in the hilly suburb of Cyrildene. Most of the inhabitants of the Cyrildene Chinatown are recent immigrants from mainland China.[1]

In the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s immigrants from Taiwan settled extensively in South Africa.[2] South Africa's first Taiwan-born legislator was elected in the 1980s. After South Africa recognised the People's Republic of China in 1998 large numbers of mainland Chinese immigrated to the country. South African Chinese are dispersed throughout South African cities. During the Apartheid regime (1948–93) Chinese South Africans were classified as "Coloureds" or "Asian South Africans", while certain East Asian nationals (such as Japan and Taiwan) in South Africa were declared honorary whites and thus avoided most forms of official discriminatory laws (they could live in reserved white neighborhoods unlike native/black, and Asian-Indian South Africans), since Apartheid created a strict racial segregation system for non-white/European persons (esp. the black majority) in South Africa.


  1. ^ John Matshikiza (Jan 22, 2007). "Hoe's my China nou?". Mail and Guardian Online. Retrieved June 1, 2011.
  2. ^ Yap, Melanie; Leong Man, Dainne (1996). Colour, Confusion and Concessions: The History of the Chinese in South Africa. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press. p. 427. ISBN 962-209-423-6.

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