Blackanese in Johannesburg

Today I encountered three Chinese inspired ideas in Johannesburg: The Blackanese, a Chinese shipping corrugated iron container and Chinese lanterns.

Blackanese is a fusion of black and Chinese or Japanese cultures. The first time I heard of the term blackanese was from Chris Tucker in Rush Hour. He was in Chinatown looking for some underground gangster called Jin Ping and he told everyone they were half siblings. In his actual words “Me and him have the same mama, I’m blackanese”.

But in Johannesburg, The Blackanese is a Sushi & Wine bar that fuses African flavour with Japanese cuisine. They also have sushi-making classes that teach interested parties the craft of turning food into art. Below is a Blackanese chef dressed in Japanese chef design at his stall at Art on Main.

Another  Chinese inspired idea is Bheki Dube’s office which happens to be a Chinese shipping corrugated iron container placed neatly at corner Fox and Kruger. Bheki is the Maboneng precinct neighbourhood concierge and he runs inner city tours. On his office door is written “China Shipping” in Chinese characters. Calligraphy is not only a practical technique for writing Chinese characters, but also a unique Oriental art of expression.

He took my colleague and I to the 12 Decades Johannesburg Art Hotel where every room encapsulates the history of South Africa. The Abe Bailey room captures the period between 1896 to 1906 which saw the first wave of Chinese migrants coming to work at the South African mines. To commemorate the first Chinese migration, the Abe Bailey room  has two bright red Chinese lanterns. Red lanterns signify good fortune, wealth and energy and they have been used as an art form since 230BC.

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