This article tells a story about the unfolding “Chinese Century” in South Africa centered on China Malls, wholesale shopping centers for Chinese goods that have cropped up along Johannesburg's old mining belt since the early 2000s. Based in ethnographic and historical analysis, the essay takes a palimpsestic approach to imagine how Chinese capital enters into a terrain profoundly shaped by race, labor, and migration and is entangled with the afterlives of gold. Chinese migrant traders in South Africa draw on legacies of migrant mine labor and refashion processes that devalue Black labor. Whereas these histories are lost upon Chinese newcomers, African workers experience working for “the Chinese” through the memory of the mines. With the aim of theorizing emergent formations of race and capital in the Chinese Century, the essay threads this new epoch through the history of colonial and racial capitalism of the City of Gold.

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