I ♥ China Town


One of the things that's really clear when in Cape Town is that Chinese investment in Africa can be seen everywhere. From obscure (at least from a UK perspective) Chinese car brands like Geely making an appearance on the roads, to hundreds of little communication devices developed by companies like ZTE and Huawei. But this post isn't about the political effects of China in Africa (sites like The China Africa Project are already doing a fantastic job covering this fascinating area), it's about my recent immature obsession with "China Towns".

South Africa has a few of these massive malls called "China Towns" which house lots of small Chinese businesses selling pretty much everything. For those of you in the UK, imagine a Pound Store the size of a warehouse and you've got China Town. "These places opened up about two and a half years ago" my sister-in-law's partner informs me. "The weird thing is that there wasn't really much Chinese goods in the country before these places opened, but afterwards, it just started flooding in".

China Towns have a pretty bad reputation here in South Africa for selling cheap and tacky goods. As one person described it to me, "it's a Cathedral of Crap". I, however, love the place. The totally random selection of stuff you can buy is something I genuinely marvel at. So I decided to visit two of the China Towns here and take a few pictures of the stuff I found.

5 years ago, this kind of stuff ticked all the boxes for me.

A whole selection of self-defense goods are available. Here's a pretty mean looking stun gun, you know, just in case.

Does what it says on the tin. A fake Xbox controller.

How do you promote the water resistance of a watch? Easy! Stick it in a aquarium lamp thing complete with fake fish.

The shops in China Town usually go for the no-frills look.

Wide boys rejoice! A whole selection of garish lighting for your car is available.

For the die hard Real Madrid fan, foot pedals for your pimp-mobile.

Now that you've hooked your car up with some wicked lights and  your custom pedals, it's time to finish it off with this proper gangster looking vinyl.

Techno-Jesus (for the raving hard crew).

Unfortunately this picture came out blurry as the owner of this store told me to stop taking photos. For you ladies with a loose labia this is "Vagina Shinking Tightening Gel".

They're right, this store is amazing.