Dan Chiponda earns a scholarship to study in China and reluctantly leaves his native Zimbabwe for an uncertain future. Learning to take racial abuse in his stride, he dates a fellow student, Lai Ying, who is attracted to his easygoing manner. He remains haunted by the weight of his mother’s expectations, encapsulated by the image of the African fish eagle.
Things take a dramatic turn when Chinese students pour into the streets in an orgy of violence to drive Africans out of town. The situation in Nanjing only stabilises when attention turns to the mayhem that is unraveling in Tiananmen Square, Beijing.
But that is only the beginning of Dan’s troubles with the ‘Campus Gestapo’, loan sharks in Hong Kong, and the shock of his family getting caught up in the violence by Mugabe’s war vets.