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African Citizens in Wuhan and the Evacuation Conundrum

Temperature check at a supermarket in Wuhan. Photo by Michael Addaney.

The increasingly desperate pleas from African students to be evacuated from the epicenter of the Novel Coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, China raises broader, thornier questions about how Africa should deal with its colonial past. A past that still casts a long shadow over much of the continent. At its heart, the students’ campaign challenges some of the still widely held but often unspoken assumptions about Africa’s past, filled with slavery and apartheid, and the impact it continues to have in contemporary society.

There are around 4,600 African students in Wuhan today including an estimated 450 from Ethiopia, 420 from Tanzania, 320 from Zimbabwe and 312 from Ghana. Other countries such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa, also have sizeable student populations in Wuhan.

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