Phases of Conflict in Africa

alt Kadende-Kaiser, Rose & Kaiser, Paul J. (eds)
Published by: Toronto: De Sitter Publications, 2005
ISBN: 10: 0973397896 13: 978-0973397895

Reviewed by: Emmanuel Kisiangani, Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Political Studies, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
In the African Journal on Conflict Resolution Volume 6 No. 2, 2006

Africa has been judged to be more afflicted by serious armed conflicts than any other region on the planet. It is however important to put the causes of these conflicts into proper perspective, rather than simply concluding that they are tribal or ethnic. In most cases, the underlying causes are closely interwoven in both national and international arenas. The international factors include the consequences of the Cold War and its aftermath, as well as the globalisation and liberalisation of the world economy – which have generated a sense of political and economic insecurity in Africa. National factors that have contributed to armed conflicts in Africa include discriminatory political processes and skewed resource distribution (in some cases going back to the colonial period), centralised and highly personalised forms of governance, corruption and mismanagement. While debates often conceive the causes of conflict in Africa in both national and international dimensions, in practice, attention to dealing with these conflicts is in most cases paid at the level of and in the context of the countries concerned. The consequence is that conflict resolution strategies fail to appreciate the complex nature of disputes in Africa. The book Phases of Conflict in Africa aims to provide an analytical framework for conceptualising and dealing with some of these conflicts, particularly in West and Central Africa.

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".

Peace: A World History

Antony Adolf
Cambridge, Polity Press, 2009, 272 pp.
ISBN: 0780745641263

Reviewed by Laura Grant, a recent intern at ACCORD
In the African Journal on Conflict Resolution Volume 10 No. 1, 2010

In Peace: A world history Antony Adolf challenges the assumption that peace is solely the absence of war, and aims to provide a history of peace as an independent and self-sufficient concept. The author undertook the work

… in the belief that coming closer to terms with how and why the world’s peaces came or ceased to be what they are is a first and necessary step in renewed directions towards world peace – only to discover that, of necessity, there is no last.

Adolf contends that peace is not a state to be achieved but rather a process to be maintained, and that a better understanding of the history of peace will improve its prospects in the future. Hoping to contribute to this objective, Adolf has compiled an overview of peace from prehistory to the 21st century and beyond.

Peace, Profit or Plunder? The Privatisation of Security in Wartorn African Societies

alt Edited by Jakkie Cilliers and Peggy Mason
Published by: Institute for Security Studies, Pretoria, 1999
ISBN: 10: 0620238348 13: 978-0620238342

Reviewed by: Ian Liebenberg Senior Political Analyst, Group: Democracy and Governance, Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC), and Research Associate, Institute for Security Studies, South Africa.
In Conflict Trends Issue 3 of 1999

‘You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you’ – Leon Trotsky, quoted in Alvin and Heidi Toffler, War and Anti-war, 1993

Conflict – the unenviable, yet inevitable thread flowing through history from premodern to modern times (and now through post-modern times, if some are to be believed) – continuously threatens individual and community safety and sometimes even world peace and stability. But violence is not only spreading; the horror image carried in graphic novels of a privatisation of security together with 'global' (read 'capital') interests is coming perilously close to reality.

Peace in Africa: Towards a Collaborative Security Regime

alt Edited by S. Field
Published by: Institute for Global Dialogue, Johannesburg, 2004
ISBN: 10: 1919697675 13: 978-1919697673

Reviewed by Britt de Klerk
In Conflict Trends Issue 2 of 2004

From the League of Nations to the United Nations to the regionalisation of security, one has witnessed the trend from collective security to collaborative security mechanisms and structures. While the earlier approaches to security focused more on collective security and responses to inter-sate conflict and upheld the motto ‘an attack on one is an attack on us all’, the changing international context with the end of the Cold War and increased intra-state conflict ushered in the more cooperative response to security as embraced by the global trend of regionalism. This trend has been largely prevalent in trade and economic considerations; however, the benefits of regionalism in these sectors have promoted the move towards a collaborative framework of security. At the same time, while these benefits did indeed play a contributory role in this move towards regionalisation of security, it was also largely based on the understanding that conflict under- mines economic growth and thus preventing and managing conflict is vital for economic stability. Africa is currently building the blocks for a collaborative security regime in Africa as enshrined in the principles of the African Union’s (AU’s) Peace and Security Council. It is therefore timely that a book analysing the prospects for collaborative security in Africa is produced.

Peace and Conflict in Africa

alt Francis, David J. (ed.)
Published by: Zed Books, London / New York, 2008
ISBN: 10: 1842779540 13: 978-1842779545

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

Many interpretations of peace and conflict in Africa are too simplistic. The book under review, therefore, seeks to deviate from those interpretations and provide a more detailed perspective. A collection of essays edited by David J. Francis, the book is touted as an introduction text to key themes with regard to peace and conflict in Africa. The book aims, firstly, to introduce the reader to the concepts, debates and issues in peace and conflict in Africa, and, secondly, to stress the importance of indigenous African approaches to peacebuilding. Thus, the book is divided into two parts. The first part has seven chapters and deals mostly with concepts and the discourse of peace and conflict in Africa. Part two has five chapters and deals with issues in peace and conflict.

Partner to History: The US Role in South Africa’s Transition to Democracy

alt Princeton N. Lyman
Published by: United States Institute of Peace Press, Washington, D.C., 2002
ISBN: 10: 1929223366 13: 978-1929223367

Reviewed by: Brendan Vickers
In Conflict Trends Issue 3 of 2002

In the early 1990s, South Africa was a cause ce’le’bre of the early US-centred ‘new world order’. Amid fratricidal war and communal conflict in settings as diverse as Bosnia, Chechnya, Somalia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Burundi and Kashmir, South Africans themselves – who were actively supported and encouraged by foreign political actors – negotiated an end to apartheid authoritarianism, as well as its ignominious exclusionary practices. The pariah state of the Cold War years soon emerged as the paragon and ‘miracle’ of the 1990s.

Of Myths And Migration: Illegal Immigration Into South Africa

alt Hussein Solomon
Published by: Unisa Press, Pretoria, 2003
ISBN: 10: 1868882063 13: 978-1868882069

Reviewed by: Senzo Ngubane
In Conflict Trends Issue 2 of 2003

One of the challenges facing most developing states is that of huge population movements within and between states. Such population movements are a result of a number of factors which, for a very long time have been summarised into two famous concepts, the ‘push’ and the ‘pull’ factors. The movement of people within and between states has been one of the key manifestations of a variety of hardships and challenges that are faced by individuals and states in Africa alike. The fact that, among other things, specific countries and region on the continent of Africa have experienced one conflict after another has contributed to instability within the continent. Such instability is reflected by the huge numbers of people moving across borders into other countries as a way of seeking sanctuary, peace and an attempt to re-build their lives. Such movement of people across borders has also been a cause of serious security challenges for both the countries from which these people originate as well as those in which they seek sanctuary.