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.

Shake Hands with the Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda

alt Lt.Gen. Romeo Dallaire, 2004
Published by: Arrow Books
ISBN: 10: 0679311726 13: 978-0679311720

Reviewed by: Cedric De Coning, Research Fellow at ACCORD and advisor to the Training for Peace (TfP) programme
In Conflict Trends Issue 4 of 2005

General Romeo Dallaire has done the peacekeeping community an enormous service by painstakingly reconstructing the events that led to the Rwanda genocide and the international community’s response, or lack thereof, in the days and months that followed. The book is written from his personal experiences and painful memories as commander of the United Nations (UN) forces in Rwanda. He sheds light on the various historic and political events that built up to the genocide, including the broken political process and the apathy of the world as events unfolded in Rwanda. What sets this book apart is the insight General Dallaire provides into the workings of the UN peacekeeping mission in Rwanda (UNAMIR) and its relationship with the Department of Peacekeeping Operations at the UN headquarters in New York.

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’.

Saviours And Survivors: Darfur, Politics And The War On Terror

Mahmood Mamdani (ed.)
Published by: Human Sciences Research Council Press, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-7969-2252-6

Reviewed by Karanja Mbugua, Senior Analyst with ACCORD’s Peacemaking Unit
In the African Journal on Conflict Resolution Volume 9 No. 1, 2009

The conflict in Darfur, Sudan, has attracted a tremendous amount of attention in the last six years. Scholars, humanitarian organisations and investigative commissions and panels sponsored by the African Union and the United Nations have produced a large amount of information and analyses regarding the context, actors, causes and consequences, underlying goals and interests, and other dynamics that have been driving the conflict. These analyses, which reflect the different views and interests of the various groups in Sudan and in the West, are human rights, political science or anthropological narratives of Darfur in particular, and Sudan in general.

Putting People First: African Priorities for The UN Millennium Assembly

alt Edited by P. Mathoma; G. Mills & J. Stremlau
Published by: South African Institute Of International Affairs (Saiia), 2000
ISBN: 10: 1919810145 13: 978-1919810140

Reviewed by: Senzo Ngubane, Research Officer, ACCORD
In Conflict Trends Issue 1 of 2000

The twenty-first century, Africa’s 53 countries stood out as the stage of unending conflict, where death and poverty became the order of the day. Visuals of malnourished Angolan children show the result of an ugly civil war; thousands of human skeletons exhumed after the Rwanda genocide, which was all due to the politics of identity; and civilians with amputated limps in Sierra Leone – all these images and many more will forever serve as a reminder that the twenty-first century was not kind to Africa.

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.