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Africa, China, and the Global South Novel: In Koli Jean Bofane’s Congo Inc.

Africa, China, and the Global South Novel: In Koli Jean Bofane’s Congo Inc. The People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) presence in Africa has fundamentally changed globalization patterns. Most scholarship interrogates whether the Chinese presence is either a “new colonialism” or a “win-win” for development by focusing on economic or social scientific factors. In contrast, this article examines China as a trope in Congo Inc. (2014) by In Koli Jean Bofane. Congo Inc. is one of the first African novels to take the Africa-China relationship as central theme, depicting how Congolese actors negotiate the PRC’s presence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The article examines the unexpected partnership of a trickster, Isookanga, and a stranded Chinese national, Zhang Xia, analyzing their partnership according to the relationship between time and globalization. The argument uses the concept of the postcolony’s durées to demonstrate how the narrative creates a global South temporality, which differentiates Africa-China patterns of globalization from previous instantiations. These durées include Isookanga’s digital consciousness enabled by a PRC-built cell tower; allusions to Chinese history; and Isookanga and Zhang Xia’s collaboration on Eau Pire Suisse. In sum Congo Inc.’s innovative temporality, embodied by the term mondialiste, signals a shift in type of postcolonial narrative toward the global South novel. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Comparative Literature Duke University Press

Africa, China, and the Global South Novel: In Koli Jean Bofane’s Congo Inc.

Comparative Literature , Volume 72 (3) – Sep 1, 2020

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Copyright
Copyright © 2020 by University of Oregon
ISSN
0010-4124
eISSN
1945-8517
DOI
10.1215/00104124-8255350
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) presence in Africa has fundamentally changed globalization patterns. Most scholarship interrogates whether the Chinese presence is either a “new colonialism” or a “win-win” for development by focusing on economic or social scientific factors. In contrast, this article examines China as a trope in Congo Inc. (2014) by In Koli Jean Bofane. Congo Inc. is one of the first African novels to take the Africa-China relationship as central theme, depicting how Congolese actors negotiate the PRC’s presence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The article examines the unexpected partnership of a trickster, Isookanga, and a stranded Chinese national, Zhang Xia, analyzing their partnership according to the relationship between time and globalization. The argument uses the concept of the postcolony’s durées to demonstrate how the narrative creates a global South temporality, which differentiates Africa-China patterns of globalization from previous instantiations. These durées include Isookanga’s digital consciousness enabled by a PRC-built cell tower; allusions to Chinese history; and Isookanga and Zhang Xia’s collaboration on Eau Pire Suisse. In sum Congo Inc.’s innovative temporality, embodied by the term mondialiste, signals a shift in type of postcolonial narrative toward the global South novel.

Journal

Comparative LiteratureDuke University Press

Published: Sep 1, 2020

References