Film Review: Ghina

By Kevin Young

Ghina, directed by Christine Choy, is a documentary educating viewers about the varying relations between Chinese migrants and Ghanaian locals.   It brings up many points of views from Chinese restaurant owners, Ghanaian laborers, African studies professors, and Chinese businessmen.  It includes many voices and opinions that are unknown to most of the world.

Ghanaians employed by Chinese people believe that the Chinese are exploiting them by not wanting to learn/understand Ghana’s culture and language and even interact with locals.  These Ghanaians believe that the Chinese stay in their own bubble and refuse to branch out.  Ghanaian professors believe that the Chinese are deforesting and polluting water to mine coal but the government refuses to stop them because of all the structures the Chinese build.

Yet some Ghanaians acknowledge the newly formed unison between the two ethnic groups.  These Ghanaians praise all of the capital the Chinese bring to Ghana and the infrastructure projects that the Chinese have initiated from building new hospitals, luxury hotels, and roads.   The Ghanaians see the Chinese in a better light than western nations who have colonized Africa but they are always cautious that foreigners are out there to exploit Africans.

Perplexingly there are Chinese people that are content thriving in Ghana and have no plans to go back to mainland China or Hong Kong.  They love the stable weather, vast open land, and the ability to start their own businesses.  A Chinese restaurant owner loves going vegetable shopping at 6am in the morning everyday at the local Ghanaian vegetable market.  She likes being able to take advantage of Ghana’s fertile land and the labor force that she has obtained.  She has trained Ghanaians to cook traditional Chinese cuisine.

Historically speaking China was one of the few nations back in the 1960s that promoted Ghana’s independence.  The relations between the two nations have been tenacious since then.  In 1971 Ghana helped China by advocating for China to be included in the United Nations.   China today is now Ghana’s leading international trade partner.

Whether you agree that the Chinese and Ghanaians have a utopian relationship or that the Chinese are exploiting Ghanaians, the fact is that the migration patterns between the two nations have surged within the past decade.  Over a million Chinese now populate Ghana and approximately 400,000 Ghanaians now live in China.



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