Running like a red thread through this book are the manifestations of Sino-African relations dating back many centuries. In
this way, The Rise and Decline and Rise of China: Searching for an Organising Philosophy takes forward the work MISTRA conducted
on the Mapungubwe society, one of the advanced states that existed in southern Africa some 800 years ago, and which enjoyed
trade relations with China and other centres in the East. Mapungubwe rose and fell, long before European colonial incursions.
Other states emerged in the vicinity, but they also suffered the same fate. When do southern Africa and Africa at large rise
again? Are there lessons that the continent can draw from the experience of the Chinese people? If - beyond material considerations
- religion, culture and ideology do play a role in the rise, decline and resurgence of a civilization, what are the similarities
and contrasts between these regions? Of course, such research cannot ignore the fundamental questions: whence does the current
system of social, economic and political relations in China draw its resilience, how adaptable is it, and is it sustainable?
As the outcome contained in this book demonstrates, a research exercise of this kind can only be exploratory. It serves merely
as a genesis to work that should find new legs. What makes this research report unique, though, is that the treatment of these
issues has been undertaken primarily from an African perspective.