CHOCOLATE CITY
by Michael MacGarry


Published by Stevenson 2012
Written and designed by Michael MacGarry
Printed and bound in The People's Republic of China

Hardcover, 120 pages
ISBN 978-0-620-53361-4

Edition 335
Special Edition 15


 

 

Chocolate City focuses on the once-substantial African diasporic merchant-class community in Guangzhou, People's Republic of China. In Guangzhou, a 10 square kilometer area was given the name 'Chocolate City' by local taxi drivers; a derogatory reference to the comparatively large population of African migrants. According to official statistics, from 2003 the number of Africans in Guangzhou grew at 30 to 40% annually, and by 2008 there were approximately 100 000 people in the community. Today, following restrictions on visas coupled with raids by immigration agents supported by city police, the African population in Guangzhou is perhaps closer to 20 000 people. These hail chiefly from Nigeria, Guinea, Cameroon, Liberia, Togo, Benin and Mali, with Nigerians comprising the majority of the population. African merchants visit China to trade - to buy DVDs, textiles, shoes and clothing for resale in their home countries. Due to the restrictions of a 30-day visa, high travel costs and the need to remain in Guangzhou, many Africans are left with little choice but to overstay their visas. They are declared by Chinese authorities as 'triple illegal persons' - illegal to enter the country, illegal to reside in the country, illegal to work in the country.

Four fictional short stories written by Michael MacGarry accompany his series of photographic works within the Chocolate City publication - presenting an idiosyncratic and epistemological response to, and manipulation of, the given subject. In so doing, to question the inherent logic and assumptions of documentary photography and portraiture, and opening the frame to fiction, conjecture and recreation.

 

 

   

 

View from Yeuixu Park, Guangzhou

 

 

Near Haixinsha Tourism Park, Guangzhou

 

 

In the Deng Feng Hotel, Xiatang Xi Lu

 

 

From left:
On Sanyuanli Dadao
Outside the Guangzhou Opera House

 

 

At the Guangzhou Zoological Gardens

 

 

Early morning cleaning

 

 

Ojukwu Osita Emma, President of the Nigerian Community in China and Chairman of the African Community in Guangzhou

 

 

From left:
Textiles at the Canaan market destined for Lagos

Merchants outside Guangzhou’s Canaan Export Clothes Wholesale Trading Center packing textiles to be sent by air freight to West Africa

 

 

Momo, originally from Senegal, at the Salam Restaurant in Xiatang Xi Lu, Guangzhou. He has been trading in China regularly for nine years, and lives in Cape Town.

 

 

Football practice near Sanyuanli Dadao, Guangzhou

 

 

From left:
Apartment blocks adjacent to the Consulate General of the United States of America in Zhujian, Guangzhou

Chika Ekwealuo from Nigeria – resident in China for more than four years – in his shop at Tianxiu Mansion, Guangzhou

 

 

Nas, from Nigeria, and his Chinese girlfriend Lily at the GBOOZA club night at TownBar on Zeng Cha Road, Baiyun, Guangzhou.

 

 

Sunday afternoon prayer at the grotto adjacent to the ShiShi Stone Cathedral, Guangzhou.

 

 

From left:
Fibreglass sculpture

A Chinese labourer employed by a Nigerian-owned freight company packing textiles destined for Lagos at Guangzhou’s Canaan Export Clothes Wholesale Trading Center.

 

 

From left:
Hennessy Road, Hong Kong

Yusuf, from Togo, outside an electronics shop at Chungking Mansions, Kowloon, Hong Kong.

 

 

Mother and China-Born Baby (CBB) at the Deng Feng Market.

 

 

On the Guangzhou Dadaozhong

 

 

Manicure and pedicure shop, Xiatang Xi Lu, Guangzhou

 

 

From left:
Benni, from Senegal, at the Salam Restaurant in Xiatang Xi Lu, Guangzhou

In the men’s bathroom at Beifang Grand Hotel Bar, Huanshi Xi Lu

 

 

 

From left:
Tina Zhou in her jewellery shop at the Bole Clothing Market, Guang Yunag Xi Lu, Guangzhou. Her boyfriend – Omens, from Lagos – was deported from China for overstaying his business visa.

Shanzai Lacoste™ bought in Mauritius

 

 

From left:
View west along Dongfeng Donglu, Guangzhou

China-Born Baby (CBB) and mother on Sanyuanli Dadao, Guangzhou

 

 

At the GBOOZA club night at TownBar, Zeng Cha Road, Baiyun, Guangzhou

 

 

From left:
Ala Owerri, from Nigeria, outside his shop at the Bole Clothing Market, Guang Yuang Xi Lu, Guangzhou

At the White Swan Hotel on the Pearl River, Guangzhou

 

 

From left:
Henrí, from Côte d’Ivoire, in Chungking Mansions, Kowloon, Hong Kong

At the Canaan Export Clothes Wholesale Trading Center, Guangzhou

 

 

At the 16th Guangzhou International Art Fair

 

 

From left:
Jack Daniels and Coca-Cola

African Food Restaurant, Xiatang Xi Lu

 

 

Zhujian New Town

 

 

From left:
Government building near Guangzhou Sculpture Park

Antonio (left) from Cabinda, Angola, and his friend Gregoire from Lubumbashi, DR Congo, at African Food Restaurant, Xiatang Xi Lu

 

 

Ali, from Senegal, in his textiles shop at Chungking Mansions, Kowloon, Hong Kong. He has been resident in numerous parts of southern China for more than seven years.

 

 

Stewart, from South Africa, wearing his 1st South African Infantry Battalion (1SAI) beret. Resident in China for nine years, he is married to a Chinese woman from Shanghai. They live in Guangzhou.

 

 

From left:
Asleep in a bathtub

View from The Bedroom, Lin Jiang Dadao

 

 

Owners Football Club, competing in the Guangzhou International Football League (GIFL), at the Tianhe Sports Complex.

 

 

Fortune cookie at The Salisbury in Hong Kong.

 

 

The 15:30 Sunday International Mass at ShiShi Stone Cathedral, Guangzhou

 

 

Drugs for sale outside Cave Bar

 

 

From left:
Yannick from DR Congo

Warming the bench at a Guangzhou International Football League match, Tianhe Sports Complex

 

 

Asleep in a taxi

 

 

 

– ENDS –