"Chinese development co-operation in Africa has invoked both admiration and criticism, much of it based on limited empirical or anecdotal evidence, contributing to conflicting perceptions as to its purpose, means and outcomes. Unpacking the policies, institutions and instruments of Chinese development co-operation is a necessary prerequisite to understanding the impact that this form of assistance has on African economies and livelihoods. Moreover, examining particular case studies of development co-operation provides an opportunity to assess the relative success and failure of what the Chinese government likes to characterise as a unique form of foreign assistance. For this reason, the focus of this paper will be on one example of Chinese development co-operation, a housing project based in the South African township of Tembisa, as a way of illuminating the differing dimensions of this key aspect of Chinese engagement in Africa."