This chapter presents a historical understanding of China’s economic involvement in Sub-Saharan Africa from the Africa’s independence to the present. By focusing on three specific cases, namely, the TAZARA Railway in the 1970s, Chinese (Taiwanese) clothing industry in Newcastle (South Africa) in the 1980s and 1990s, and China’s increasing economic presence in Ghana since the 2000s, the paper attempts to outline three major arguments. First, it presents a critique to the current debates on Africa-China engagement, which by and large have emphasized China’s motivations and strategies in Africa and have overlooked the African logics. This paper argues that China’s presence in Africa must be understood as internally driven by African countries’ own needs and agendas as well. Secondly, the paper highlights the fact that China has been in the past and will continue to be the “go-to” place for many Sub-Saharan countries outside the context of their reliance on the West in terms of aid, investment and trade. China being an alternative for Africa is by no means a novel phenomenon. Through the three cases presented here, it becomes clear that in the past half century China has been viewed by Africa as the alternative to the West throughout the three phases outlined below. Third, it discusses the complications of China’s presence in Africa by revealing three different “faces” of China. They are the Chinese state and state-owned enterprises, Chinese industrialists, and Chinese private immigrant adventurists. Understanding the phenomenon that is “China”, and making sense of how Africa’s political economies intersect with the differing agendas and interests of these three “faces” will be crucial as we enter into a new era of Africa-China engagement.