As “Asia” comes to be understood in increasingly transnational ways, the role of “overseas” communities (“overseas Indians,” “overseas Chinese”) has moved to the fore. Forging modes of belonging that exceed both nation and diaspora, these groups highlight as yet little-understood imaginaries.

South Africa has long been a destination for Asian migration (whether slaves, indentured laborers, or “free” migrants) and has become a site for thinking about the construction of “Asia” (and its parts) vis-à-vis “Africa.” Gandhi's experiments with creating a miniature “India” in South Africa provide one increasingly discussed example (although his alliance with the Chinese community under the label of “Asians” awaits full exploration).

Ufrieda Ho's Paper Sons and Daughters: Growing up Chinese in South Africa is an important book in this tradition of understanding “Asia” in relation to “Africa.”

The memoir joins a small body of writing on the Chinese community in South Africa, a group made up...

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