The Right to be Nuba

alt Suleiman Musa Rahhal (ed)
Published by: The Red Sea Press, 2001
ISBN: 10: 1569021368 13: 978-1569021361

Reviewed by: George Mboya, Journalism Graduate, United States International University – Africa, Nairobi, Kenya
In the African Journal on Conflict Resolution Volume 3 No. 1, 2003

The war is the Sudan has ravaged on for 18 years with no end in sight. The book in review shows the plight of one particular community in the Sudan. If this community is being neglected now during the war then it cannot be ignored when efforts at peace are being made. The book tells the story of a people who are fighting for their right – the right to be Nuba. With or without any prior intention by the authors, the book ultimately serves as a mouthpiece for other marginalised communities whose participation in any peace effort is vital. The book brings a tribute to the Nuba and their fight against injustice. It provides a testimony to the courage of a people bent on preserving their culture and heritage, which is vitally important in any peace process.

Swiss Democracy: Possible Solutions to Conflict in Multicultural Societies

alt Wolf Linder
Published by: St. Martin’s Press Inc., New York, 1998
ISBN: 10: 0333715624 13: 978-0333715628

Reviewed by: Hussein Solomon
In Conflict Trends Issue 4 of 2000

It is often asserted that we live in a globalising world and that our planet increasingly represents a ‘global village’. Witness the increasing prominence of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in national economies, or the rise of such regional blocs as the European Union, the Association of South East Asian Nations, or the Economic Community of West African States. In essence, globalisation is characterised by convergence at the socio-cultural, political and economic levels.

Southern Africa Post-Apartheid? The Search for Democratic Governance

alt Chris Landsberg and Shaun Mackay (eds.)
Published by: Centre for Policy Studies (CPS), Institute for Democracy in South Africa (IDASA) and the Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy (NIMD),
Johannesburg, 2004.
ISBN: 1-919798-68-4

Reviewed by: Karanja Mbugua, Senior Researcher at ACCORD
In the African Journal on Conflict Resolution Volume 5 No. 1, 2005

The end of the Cold War ushered in the ascendancy of the neo-liberal ideology as the world’s development paradigm. Characterised as the new world order by the then US President George H.W. Bush, neo-liberalism saw the collapse of one-party states in Africa, and consequently the adoption of multi-party democracy.

Seeking Mandela: Peacemaking between Israelis and Palestinians

alt Adam, Heribert & Moodley, Kogila
Published by: Wits University Press,
Johannesburg, 2006
ISBN: 10: 1844721302 13: 978-1844721306

Reviewed by: Senzwesihle T. Ngubane, Former Senior Researcher and Programme Manager, ACCORD
In the African Journal on Conflict Resolution Volume 6 No. 1, 2006

The publication of this book could have not been timelier given the political evolution in the Israel and Palestine politics as well as the changing world order in which the conflict finds itself. The political evolution has to do, among other things, with the coming into power of Hamas, while at the same time there is a shifting political landscape in Israel with the formation of the Kadima Party. However, closer to home and directly related to the title of the book, Seeking Mandela, the publication of this book could have not been timelier. It comes at a time when the South African leadership and government are expected to contribute towards finding a solution to the conflict in Israel and Palestine.

Second Track/ Citizens’ Diplomacy: Concepts and Techniques for Conflict Transformation

alt John Davies and Edward (Edy) Kaufman (eds.)
Published by: Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2002
ISBN: 10: 0847695522 13: 978-0847695522

Reviewed by: Prof. Jannie Malan, senior researcher of ACCORD
In the African Journal on Conflict Resolution Volume 4 No. 1, 2004

As the subtitle indicates, this book is about concepts and techniques for conflict transformation. But as the title shows, it is especially about getting more people involved, and about taking culture seriously.

Searching for Peace in Africa: An Overview of Conflict Prevention and Management Activities

alt Monique Mekenkamp, Paul van Tongeren and Hans van de Veen (eds)
Published by: Utrecht: European Platform for Conflict Prevention and Transformation, 1999
ISBN: 10: 9057270331 13: 978-9057270338

Reviewed by: George Mboya Journalism Graduate, United States International University – Africa, Nairobi, Kenya
In the African Journal on Conflict Resolution Volume 3 No. 1, 2003

If there ever was a book written about Africa that offers prospects for hope on such a grim subject, then it is this one. The book resulted from the work of numerous authors who have ably assisted the editors, and whose expert views on the conflict in Africa are fresh, provide food for thought, and urge Africa to awake from slumber and seize her moment. The book is set against a background in which ten major conflicts in Africa in the past 25 years have claimed the lives of between 3.8 and 6.8 million people. In 1998 alone, of the 200 violent conflicts occurring world-wide 72 were credited to Africa, thus making Africa ‘the most warring region on the planet’.

Protecting Sub-Saharan Africa: The Military Challenge

L. Du Plessis And M. Hough
Published by: Human Sciences Research Council, Pretoria, 1999
ISBN: 10:0796919003 13:978-0796919007

Reviewed by: Brig. James Machakaire (rtd), Intern in ACCORD’s Peacekeeping Unit
In Conflict Trends Issue 2 of 1999

This book examines how policies adopted by states after independence influenced the enhancement of security through investment in and development of the armed forces. Coincidentally most states in this region attained independence by armed struggle. The desire and temptation to enhance security through the rapid and massive development of military strength was so high on the agendas of most of these states, that it over- shadowed the need to rationalise distribution of available resources.

Peacemaking in South Africa: A Life in Conflict Resolution

alt Van der Merwe, H.W.
Published by: Cape Town: Tafelberg, 2000
ISBN-10: 0624039137 13: 978-0624039136

Reviewed by: Jaap Durand, retired Vice-Rector of the University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa
In the African Journal on Conflict Resolution Volume 2 No. 1, 2002

This is the autobiography of a man who played a significant role in the peace-making process in South Africa that led to the negotiated settlement in 1994, which is often described as the South African "miracle". H.W. van der Merwe, now deceased after a long illness, had been described by the media as the man "who brings South Africa's enemies together".

Invisible Stakeholders: Children and War in Africa

alt McIntyre, Angela (ed.)
Published by: Pretoria: Institute for Security Studies, 2004

Reviewed by: Annie Derges, Senior Documentalist, SAPES Books
In the African Journal on Conflict Resolution Volume 6 No. 1, 2006

When you hear the words ‘child soldier’, do you conjure up (as I admit to having done) the image of the child-abductee holding an AK-47 and dressed in cast-off scraps of uniform? Or the tramp of small feet of the children of Northern Uganda, portrayed in a recent documentary film, who make their way each night from the villages to the safety of towns? Or, as you approach a road junction in your car, in almost any city of Africa, and that child approaches, hand outstretched, do you think: if war broke out, that child would be better off as a soldier.

A Peace of Timbuktu, Democratic Governance and African Peacemaking

Robin-Edward Poulton And Ibrahim AG Youssouf
Published by: United Nations Institute For Disarmament Research, New York And Geneva, 1998
ISBN: 10: 9290451254 13: 978-9290451259

Reviewed by: Senzo Ngubane, Research Assistant in ACCORD’s Research Unit
In Conflict Trends Issue 2 of 1999

The statement that something ‘new’ always comes out of Africa, as depicted in Pliny the Elder’s story centuries ago, is clearly reflected in this book. This something ‘new’ contrary to the ugly picture painted by Pliny of Africa, happens to be positive.

Africa was not unaffected by the turbulent years of the Post Cold War era. Since the end of global bipolarity, the winds of change have blown strongly across the African continent. This is most graphically evidenced in the process of democratisation, which witnessed the ousting of ‘Big Men’ like Kenneth Kaunda and Hastings Banda from the corridors of power. A peace of Timbuktu reflects on the processes of change resulting from the replacement of an oppressive regime by a democratically elected government.