Dr Innocent Batsani-Ncube’s article, ‘Whose Building? Tracing the Politics of the Chinese Government-Funded Parliament Building in Lesotho’ is the winner of the Journal of Southern African Studies’ Terence Ranger Prize, 2023.
The prize is awarded annually for the best article by a new contributor to JSAS during the previous year.
The panel of judges noted the thoroughness of the research and the article's relevance to the study of China-Africa relations well beyond its central case of Lesotho. The judges said:
The article shows how China specifically targeted the building of the parliament as a means to gain access to Lesotho’s political system and secure its long-term foreign policy interests. Asking whether the motivation was ideological or pragmatic, the article answers by building on Rich and Recker’s analysis of the China–Africa relationship, revealing the complex and nuanced ways in which African agency plays out or is undermined. The reality is that benefits accrue to both. China benefited in ‘visibility and prestige’ for relatively little money. A subtle message was to show that Lesotho is incapable of ‘self-care’, Lesotho elites got a ‘win’ but others felt hard done by.