Cobus van Staden is the co-host of the weekly China in Africa Podcast and co-moderator of the China Africa Project’s popular Facebook community. He is a South African journalist and academic who started his career in 1998 as a TV reporter for the South African Broadcasting Corporation. In 2001, he went to graduate school in Japan, getting a Master’s degree and a Ph.D. in Media Studies from the University of Nagoya. After his return to South Africa, he worked as an investigative journalist for the award-winning news show “Special Assignment.” He is currently on the faculty of the Media Studies department at The University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, tracking the expansion of Chinese and Japanese media interests in Africa.

Last Updated: March 16, 2015

Chinese Corporations in Africa: Saints or Sinners?

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
“The African way of life is under attack by Chinese corporations,” argues University of Technology, Sydney doctoral candidate Onjumi Okumu. The Kenya native contends that a combination of weak governance in African mixed with no legal restraints on...

The Dalai Lama Forces China to Overplay its Hand in South Africa

Eric Olander & Cobus van Staden
Pretoria’s apparent refusal to grant Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama a visa to attend a summit of Nobel peace laureates has sparked outrage in South Africa. Critics allege the government is bowing to China, undermining South African...

‘China Halts Arms Sales to South Sudan’ (Wait, What?)

Eric Olander & Cobus van Staden
In June, China’s ambassador to Juba, Ma Qiang, publicly declared that Beijing would not sell weapons to any side of the ongoing civil conflict in South Sudan. So it was a bit of a surprise when it was discovered that $38 million of weapons had been...

China and ‘The Battle for Africa’

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
Al Jazeera stands alone among the major international news channels in its regular coverage of the Chinese in Africa. In the network’s latest documentary released in September 2014, veteran Sierra Leonean journalist Sorious Samura hosts “The Battle...

Ebola Crisis in West Africa: Fair to Compare U.S. and China Aid?

Eric Olander & Cobus van Staden
When the ebola crisis first struck West Africa, China was among the only major powers to not only keep its personnel in the affected countries but to also send tens of millions of dollars in badly needed aid. The U.S., by contrast, was visibly...

Sam Pa, China’s Mysterious Middleman in Africa

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
Publicly, China's engagement in Africa is purportedly based on “mutual benefit” or, as Chinese officials like to phrase it “win win.” Behind the scenes, though, it's a little more complicated. Many of those multibillion-dollar natural...

Mugabe Critic: Zimbabwe’s ‘Old Friend’ China is Bleeding it Dry

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
Harare-based economist and columnist Vince Musewe doesn’t mince words in his criticism of Zimbabwe’s growing financial dependence. Beijing is “bleeding Zimbabwe dry” through loans and Musewe says enough is enough. He is calling on Robert Mugabe’s...

South Africa to Dalai Lama: ‘You’re Not Welcome’ (Really)

Eric Olander & Cobus van Staden
For a third consecutive time, South Africa has made it clear to the Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama that he is not welcome to visit. Most recently, the Dalai Lama was informed he would not receive a visa, forcing the controversial religious...

Cameroon’s Illegal Timber Finds a Market in China

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
Cameroon’s rain forests are rapidly vanishing due to widespread corruption, according to a new report from Greenpeace Africa. The environmental activist group alleges that much of the illegally-harvested timber from Cameroon ends up in China where...

China-Africa Trade May Be Booming, But Big Problems Loom

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
Trade between China and Africa will break another new record this year as it’s expected to top $200 billion. As trade continues to grow, officials from both regions frequently point to these figures as evidence of steadily improving ties. However,...

Massive Chinese Mining Deal in DRC Back on Track

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
The controversial Sino-Congolese mining deal Sicomines has been revived thanks to new financing from China's Exim Bank. This is one of Beijing's biggest natural resources-for-infrastructure deals in Africa. If successful, the deal would...

China Steps up in West Africa to Help Fight Ebola

Eric Olander & Cobus van Staden
China appears to be leveraging the Ebola crisis in West Africa to radically improve its controversial foreign aid record. In contrast to Western countries, many of whom have evacuated their medical personnel from the region, China has sent teams of...