Factory in South Africa

A Chinese Textile Worker’s Two Decades of Dreams in South Africa

How two generations of a Chinese migrant family established a foothold halfway across the world

In early April, I was getting my late father’s bank account balance transferred to my card. The process included a visit to the lawyer’s office, where the elderly Indian man handling my case told me there was a problem: “Your signatures on these documents don’t match. The court may reject our application." I took a look at both pages. Merely a year separated them, but my handwriting was indeed different: "I started signing my name like my dad after he passed," I said.

On my way back from the lawyer’s office, I passed the small town cemetery and I couldn’t help but recall an anecdote from a few years ago, when my dad walked past the place himself and joked: “When the time comes, bury me under this yellow soil.” His comment made me laugh at the time.

Now that he's gone, I don't want his remains to stay in this cemetery. Earlier this month I booked my flight to China with a resolution in mind—taking Dad home with me.

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