In early 2015, the Dutch TV channel VPRO broadcast a fascinating documentary about the Nigerian community in Guangzhou, China, and the impact of African mobility worldwide. In the film, Achille Mbembe, a Cameroonian philosopher and political scientist, and Ian Goldin, a South African expert on globalisation and development, shared their views on migration in a remarkably unapologetic manner.
The prospering of many new communities in our midst are evidence of often successful settlement
Despite public rage and populist campaigns, both experts understand present day migration as a win-win situation for both newcomers and natives (whose ancestors were once newcomers themselves). While the sweeping movements of today do not happen without problems, the factual prospering of many new communities in our midst are evidence of often successful settlement. The film by Pieter van der Houwen – its beautiful imagery as well as the enlightening views and indisputable facts it contains – received high ratings and numerous accolades. It was screened at several festivals and universities in Europe and it was hotly debated.
Despite much being said about them, very little is heard from the African individuals
When Van der Houwen proposed to continue his journey into migrant communities i in Johannesburg, Lagos, Glasgow and New York, ZAM immediatley agreed to publish his findings as a follow up to the earlier production. Despite much being said about them, very little is heard from the African individuals building new lives and communities, and navigating fertile grounds. This is the gap we want to fill.
We are fortunate that Erik Kessels, artistic director of internationally acclaimed communication agency KesselsKramer, participated in this exciting project. The design of this tabloid is completely his. The material he worked with has been created by Pieter van der Houwen. It grew – and it continues to grow – out of the friendships and collaborations with so many good people in Guangzhou, Johannesburg, Lagos and New York.
72 pages, full colour
Pictures: Pieter van der Houwen
Design: Erik Kessels
Editing: Devi Pillay
Print & distribution: GRAON
Date of publication: November 2015
Supported by: Fonds Bijzondere Journalistieke Projecten, OxfamNovib, Pascal Decroos Fonds, Stichting Democratie & Media