The new South Africa at twenty: Critical perspectives

Peter Vale and Estelle H. Prinsloo eds. 
Pietermaritzburg, University of KwaZulu-Natal Press, 2014, 271 pp.
ISBN-13: 978 1 86914 289 6

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.

The Media and Conflicts in Central Africa

Marie-Soleil Frère, with a contribution from Jean-Paul Marthoz
Lynne Rienner Publishers 2007, 287pp.
ISBN (hbk): 978-1-58826-489-3 / (sbk): 978-1-58826-465-7

Reviewed by Paulo Nuno Vicente

In these times of Internet communication and mass media overflow, do we really know anything about the Other? What can we summarise from media reports about Africa, except prejudgments and superficialities? How truly informed are we about conflicts in Central Africa?

In this book, Marie-Soleil Frère synthesises the interaction between the mass media and conflict in Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Rwanda, Congo-Brazzaville, the Central African Republic, Chad, Cameroon, Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.

The Makana Football Association: More Than Just a Game

Chuck Korr and Marvin Close
Collins, 2009, 336 pp.
ISBN-13: 978-0007302994

Reviewed by John Daniel in Playing for Peace Special Issue June 2010

‘More than just a game’ is an oft-used cliché to describe the socio-political impact of sports. It is particularly apt in regard to some of the great inter-club (for example, Glasgow Rangers v Celtic, or Real Madrid v Barcelona in football) and international (Russia v Canada in ice-hockey) sporting rivalries. Annually, tens of thousands of football fans trek across Europe in support of their teams as they battle it out for coveted pan-European soccer trophies, while growing numbers of English cricket supporters - the so-called ‘Barmy Army’ - flee the European winter to follow their team around the ‘old Empire’ of India, Sri Lanka, South Africa, the Caribbean, Australia and New Zealand.

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

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

 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.

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.

Sudan: The Elusive Quest for Peace

alt Iyob, Ruth & Khadiagala, Gilbert M
Published by: International Peace Academy. International Peace Academy Occasional Paper Series. Boulder and London: Lynne Rienner, 2006
ISBN: 10: 1588263509 13: 978-1588263506

Reviewed by: Jannie Malan, Senior researcher, ACCORD
In the African Journal on Conflict Resolution Volume 8 No. 1, 2008

Writing a book – one book – on the elusive quest for peace in Sudan is a daunting and difficult task. Each of the many social groups who happen to live in this large and variegated country may of course prefer to write or read their own books and focus only on the versions of history, culture, religion, human rights and social justice that they are used to and that support their views. If individuals from one group were to read a book written from another group’s perspective or from a perspective that claims to be objective, they may be inclined to write critical comments and corrections in the margins, or reach a point where they throw down the book in disgust.

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.