The People’s Republic of China as Imagined in Taddeo Bwambale Nyondo’s Around China in 300 Days: A Journey Through 30 Cities and Towns (2017)

In: African and Asian Studies
Danson Sylvester Kahyana Senior Lecturer, Department of Literature, Makerere University Kampala Uganda Research Associate, English Department, Stellenbosch University Stellenbosch South Africa

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My article contributes to the current debates on travel, with special emphasis on Africans’ travels to China. I theorize travel writing from a South-South perspective, thereby bypassing the European colonial era, which is usually considered the watershed of travel writing. Besides, I interrogate the uncritical praise of China by the Ugandan traveller, Taddeo Bwambale Nyondo, as well as the absence of criticism of the country even when there are moments when this criticism could have come in handy. I argue that Nyondo is a subaltern writer, who visits a highly-industrialized country from which he hopes his country can learn key lessons on development, which makes him similar to Ham Mukasa and Sir Apolo Kagwa who visited England in 1902 and recorded their impressions of the country in Uganda’s first written travelogue, Uganda’s Katikiro in England (1904). By juxtaposing the contemporary writer’s views of China with the earlier travellers’ view of England, I hope to create a dialogic relationship with this earlier travelogue tradition, thereby giving readers the opportunity to see the connections and disjuncture between these two periods (i.e., 1900s and 2000s).

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