Over 30 big cars are parked in the church courtyard in front of the Cathédrale du Sacré-Coeur-de-Jésus in Guangzhou, which was constructed by French Catholics in the historic center of the Chinese port metropolis Canton. Every Sunday, the Nigerian community meets here and establishes the same hierarchies and social patterns that we already encountered in Lagos. This is the place to initiate or strengthen business contacts.
Around 95 percent of the churchgoers are Nigerians; the priest, however, as well as the acolytes and the church choir are Chinese. There are also a number of people from the “West”, as well as very few local Chinese guests in the pews. After mass, the churchgoers stream out into the courtyard, take pictures of themselves among the cars or go to the hangar next door, where people sing and dance to African gospels. The doorman had a hard time trying to keep the numerous Chinese “tourists”, madly snapping pictures, at bay by saying that this is a church service and they should show respect. In this contact zone, everyday Chinafrican worlds collide; this is where urban and spiritual cultures, as well as bi-national couples and inter-marriage families can be directly experienced.