Polarization and transformation in Zimbabwe: Social movements, strategy dilemmas and change

Polarization_and_transformation_in_Zimbabwe Erin McCandless 
Lexington Books, 2011, 270 pp.
ISBN-13: 978-0739125953
Reviewed by Lesley Connolly, Programme Officer in the Peacebuilding Unit at ACCORD, South Africa, in the African Journal on Conflict Resolution Volume 13 No. 1, 2013

Polarization and transformation in Zimbabwe: Social movements, strategy dilemmas and change, written by Erin McCandless, attempts to illustrate how social movements and civic organisations face significant strategy dilemmas which can hamper their effectiveness and prevent such organisations from contributing to transformative peace and change. The book investigates Zimbabwe and two particular dilemmas which have caused political polarisation in the country.

Back from the brink: The 2008 mediation process and reforms in Kenya

back-from-the-brink-2008 Graça Machel and Benjamin Mkapa 
African Union Commission, 2014, 310 pp.
ISBN 978-9966-065-73-5
Reviewed by Charles Nyuykonge, Senior Researcher in the Knowledge Production Department at ACCORD, South Africa, in the African Journal on Conflict Resolution Volume 14 No. 1, 2014

 Although much has been written about triggers of post-electoral violence, and what needs to be done to prevent their resurgence in Kenya and Africa, insights into the architecture on which Kenya's post-2007 electoral institutions were built have not benefitted from the same amount of scholarly and policy attention. With early warning signs suggesting that growing elitism and the gap between the rich and the poor are set to widen, interest in democratic processes is also set to increase.

The new South Africa at twenty: Critical perspectives

20 Peter Vale and Estelle H. Prinsloo eds. 
Pietermaritzburg, University of KwaZulu-Natal Press, 2014, 271 pp.
ISBN-13: 978 1 86914 289 6
Reviewed by Priyal Singh, Researcher in the Knowledge Production Department at ACCORD, South Africa, in the African Journal on Conflict Resolution Volume 15 No. 1, 2015

South Africa's democratic transition in 1994 remains one of the most analysed, lauded and respected political transitions, for numerous reasons, in modern times. The definitive character of the transition, with respect to a number of international and domestic factors, elevated the significance of the process, and ultimately assigned the country a status that was nothing less than the de facto poster-child of the emergent post-Cold War international system.

Integrated Peacebuilding: Innovative Approaches to Transforming Conflict

Craig Zelizer 
Westview Press, 2013
ISBN-13: 978-0813345093

Acknowledging that the field of peacebuilding has grown from a small group of scholars, practitioners and organisations on the margins of international affairs to a phenomenon that is now beginning to influence official policy and practice in the halls of Washington DC, Paris, Addis Ababa, Geneva and elsewhere, Craig Zelizer magnificently interweaves a peacebuilding narrative from 15 academics and practitioners researching and working across a myriad of sectors, to highlight innovative approaches to transforming conflicts. This makes the case for integrated peacebuilding. The outcome is a compilation of 10 chapters that link different sectors to peacebuilding.

Civil Wars in the Democratic Republic of Congo, 1960-2010

civil wars congo Emizet Francois Kisangani
London, Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2012, 221 pp.
ISBN-13: 978-158826-826-827-3
Reviewed by Martha Mutisi, Manager of the Interventions Department at ACCORD, South Africa, in the African Journal on Conflict Resolution Volume 13 No. 2, 2013

The book, Civil Wars in the Democratic Republic of Congo, 1960-2010 by Emizet Francois Kisangani, is an analysis of the various civil wars in the Congo. As a point of departure, Kisangani gives the term 'civil wars' a new meaning because in this book, this term encompasses secession conflicts, ethnic wars, revolts, rebellions, invasions, and mutinies. After lumping these various forms of violence together as civil wars, Emizet Francois Kisangani tries to answer why the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has endured a history of protracted and changing forms of violence for the past fifty years.

Community of insecurity: SADC’s struggle for peace and security in Southern Africa

insecurity Nathan, Laurie 
Farnham, Ashgate Publishing Limited, 2012, 196 pp.
ISBN-13: 9781409430445
Reviewed by Marie-Christine Schwager, Intern in the Training Unit at ACCORD, South Africa, in the African Journal on Conflict Resolution Volume 12 No. 3, 2012

What are the reasons for the Southern African Development Community's (SADC's) failure to establish a viable security regime and engage in effective peacemaking? Has SADC attained, or is it likely in the foreseeable future to attain, the status of a security community?

The Enough Moment: Fighting to End Africa’s Worst Human Rights Crimes

that enough moment

John Prendergast with Don Cheadle
Three Rivers Press, 2010, 304 pp.
ISBN-13: 978-0-307-46482-8

Reviewed by: Linda M. Johnston, Executive Director of the Siegel Institute for Leadership, Ethics and Character at Kennesaw State University in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, in Conflict Trends Issue 4 of 2011

 This is the second book in which John Prendergast has collaborated with Don Cheadle. The first book, Not on Our Watch, was published in 2007 and was a New York Times bestseller. Prendergast is the primary author of eight other books, mostly dealing with conflict and post-conflict situations on the African continent. These books have included information on Sudan, Eritrea and Tigray, Somalia, Zimbabwe and South Africa.

Walk with us and listen: Political reconciliation in Africa

walk with us and listen Villa-Vicencio,Charles
Washington, D.C., Georgetown University Press, 225 pp.
ISBN-13: 978-1589015722
Reviewed by Allard Duursma, in the African Journal on Conflict Resolution 11 No. 3, 2011

In Walk with us and listen, Charles Villa-Vicencio addresses in 225 pages one of the most significant current issues in the field of Conflict Resolution: examining how to achieve a balance between reconciliation and punitive justice in post- conflict environments. Charles Villa-Vicencio was born in South Africa in 1948 and was raised to believe in the superiority of whites. In time, however, he developed a deep sense of the injustice of such an ideology, and subsequently became increasingly involved in the political struggle against apartheid. He has also participated in peace initiatives in several other African countries. Villa-Vicencio draws on these experiences in his book, which makes the book well-grounded in practice.

Conflict resolution in the 21st century: Principles, methods and approaches

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Jacob Bercovitch and Richard Jackson
Ann Arbor, MI, University of Michigan Press 2009, 226 pp.
ISBN: 9780472050628
Reviewed by Tamara J. Kirkwood, Coordinator: Monitoring, Evaluation and Systems at ACCORD, South Africa, in the African Journal on Conflict Resolution 11 No. 2, 2011

In this book, Jacob Bercovitch and Richard Jackson, two internationally recognised experts, undertake the systematic evaluation of traditional and modern principles, methods and approaches to conflict resolution. The authors argue that, in the current context of post-Cold War relations, terrorism and intra-state conflict, the 'toolkit' used for conflict resolution needs to be vastly expanded and improved to include tools from a range of related disciplines in order to successfully address and deal with conflict in the 21st century.

Crafting an African security architecture: Addressing regional peace and conflict in the 21st century

Hany Besada (ed.)
Farnham, Surrey, Ashgate, 2010, 222 pp.
ISBN 978-1-4094-0325-8
Reviewed by Martha Mutisi, Senior Researcher in the Knowledge Production Department at ACCORD, South Africa, in the African Journal on Conflict Resolution Volume 11, No.2, 2011

Comprising twelve chapters on eclectically chosen topics ranging from Disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR), Security sector reform (SSR), and Responsibility to Protect (R2P) to Peacekeeping and Peacebuilding, this book combines geo-political expertise of the North and the South in an analysis of peace and security challenges facing the African continent. The book provides valuable reading for policy makers, scholars, and researchers in international relations, political science, peace and security studies as well as conflict resolution.