For Better or Worse? Women and ZANLA In Zimbabwe’s Liberation Struggle

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Josephine Nhongo-Simbanegavi
Published by: Harare, Weaver Press, 2000
ISBN: 10: 079742105X 13: 978-0797421059

Reviewed by Terence M. Mashingaidze, Lecturer, Midlands State University, Gweru, Zimbabwe
In the African Journal on Conflict Resolution Volume 3 No. 1, 2003

Traditional scholarship about Zimbabwe’s liberation struggle tended to be gender neutral and highly romanticised. The liberation fighters were presented as fair, brave and disciplined whilst the opposite applied to the forces of the colonial state. Recent historiography is now showing that all the protagonists in the war perpetrated injustices against the unarmed civilians and within their ranks. It is in this vein of challenging, reconstructing and deconstructing dominant notions and paradigms that Nhongo-Simbanegavi’s book, For Better or Worse? Women And ZANLA In Zimbabwe’s Liberation Struggle, emerges. The book deserves the commendation of all those interested in the history of African liberation movements. It is probably the most cogent refutation of the claims of the Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army (ZANLA) to the establishment of gender equity during the war of liberation. It shows the resilience of patriarchal hegemony in the various contexts that punctuated Zimbabwe’s history, such as the colonial and post-colonial periods, and the times of war and peace. The book is well researched and weaves a rich tapestry of women’s, mostly combatants’, experiences during the war and in the post-colonial dispensation. Besides oral interviews and data from secondary sources, the book relies heavily on the rich but largely inaccessible ZANLA archives at the Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) headquarters in Harare.

Disarmament And Defence Industrial Adjustment In South Africa

alt By Peter Batchelor And Susan Willett
Published by: Oxford University Press, South Africa, (year unknown)
ISBN: 10: 0198294131 13: 978-0198294139

Reviewed in Conflict Trends Issue 1 of 1999

The South African defence industry, built up during the apartheid years and during the UN embargoes on sales of arms to South Africa, became one of the most important sectors of the country’s industrial base and a significant exporter. Since the end of aparteid, the end of the cold war and the elections of 1994, South Africa has cut its military expenditure drastically and is seeking to use the resources released to restructure and revitalise the country’s industrial base and to support reconstruction, development and redistribution. The new government has a unique opportunity to develop innovative policies on defence and security matters, the arms industry and arms exports. This analysis of the South African experience provides a valuable contribution to the international debate on the economic effects of military expenditure and defence industrialization and on the relationship between disarmament and development in developing countries.

Democratization and Islamic law: The Sharia Conflict in Nigeria

alt Harnischfeger, Johannes 2008
Frankfurt/New York, Campus Verlag, 244 pp.
ISBN 978-3-593-38256-2

Reviewed by Prof Françoise Parent-Ugochukwu who is currently attached to the Open University in the United Kingdom (UK)

This book is the fruit of a three-year research mission in Nigeria (1993–1996) followed by three research trips in 2001, 2002 and 2006, during which the twelve States of the Federation which adopted Sharia in various degrees were covered: Zamfara, Kaduna, Sokoto, Kano, Bauchi, Katsina, Kebbi, Jigawa, Borno, Yobe, Niger and Gombe. It is a precious first-hand account of the implementation of Sharia in the north of the country, prompted by the fact that ‘observers in Europe and North America paid little attention to the political implications of Sharia’ (p. 17). It is based on interviews with local informants, personal observations, and the scrutiny of archive documents, media articles, religious tracts, the Quran, the Bible and academic publications. Central to the book are the effects of Sharia both on the Muslim community and on Muslim-Christian relations. The author first attempts to ‘reconstruct some of the reasons that led to the Sharia campaign’ (p. 28), going back into history up to Usman Dan Fodio’s jihad in 1804 (p. 42), which presented Islam as the only unifying factor between Fulani, Hausa, Nupe and Yoruba. For Harnischfeger, the colonial period which followed was ‘a blessing for the spreading of Islam’ (p. 54), as the British closed the region to Christian missionaries, a move which, while facilitating the rapid Christianisation of the south, led to positive discrimination in favour of northerners and to the present educational imbalance between North and South. Sharia remained in force in all Emirates until the Independence, with non-Muslim settlers – mainly Igbo and Yoruba – discriminated against.

Contemporary Conflict Resolution

alt H. Miall, O. Ramsbotham
Published by: T. Woodhouse: Polity Press, 1999
ISBN: 10: 0745632130 13: 978-0745632131

Reviewed by: Roland Henwood, lecturer at the Department of Political Sciences, University of Pretoria, South Africa.
In Conflict Trends Issue 3 of 2000

The authors of Contemporary Conflict Resolution explained that it was written to meet the need for a single and comprehensive survey on contemporary conflict resolution. They also felt the book would make a valuable contribution to the management of post-Cold War conflicts. The target audience includes researchers, students, policy-makers, practitioners, as well as those involved in conflict resolution.

Constructive Conflicts: From Escalation To Resolution

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Kriesberg, Louis(Louis Kriesberg is Professor Emeritus of Sociology and Maxwell Professor Emeritus of Social Conflict Studies at Syracuse University)
Published by: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Lanham, Maryland, 1998
ISBN: 10: 0742544230 13: 978-0742544239

Reviewed by: Jannie Malan
In the African Journal on Conflict Resolution Volume 1 No. 1, 1999

The experienced author of this valuable book has tried to provide a comprehensive, realistic approach to conflict resolution theory and practice, and has succeeded remarkably well.

On almost 400 pages he shares his extensive and intensive insight into conflicts as they emerge, intensify, de-escalate and reach outcomes. Throughout the book the social context of conflict in general and conflicts in particular is taken very seriously. The author s definition of social conflict includes both individuals and groups. The appropriate examples from real conflicts which he continuously presents, cover all sorts of destructive and constructive socio-political conflicts. The three cover photos may be regarded as symbols of the kinds of windows which are opened, or opened wider, to readers of the book. They show an individual demonstrator at the Berlin wall, a wide London street filled with placard carrying peace marchers, and Nelson Mandela at the ballot box in South Africa s first democratic election.

Consolidation of Democracy in Africa: A View from the South

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Solomon, Hussein and Liebenberg, Ian
Published by: Ashgate: England & USA, (eds.) 1999
ISBN: 10: 0754611744 13: 978-0754611745

Reviewed by: Senzo Ngubane, Research Officer, ACCORD
In the African Journal on Conflict Resolution Volume 2 No. 1, 2001

Since the emergence of the Post-Cold War era a large amount of contributions have been made, both as oral and as written statements, about Africa's democratisation (or lack thereof). As Africa approached the turn of the 20th century, the issue of democratic transition and consolidation continued to be a matter of contested terrain among academics, students of African politics and policy makers. This book should be seen as a further contribution to this vigorous debate about the nature and content of democracy in Africa. It deals specifically with the issues involved in the process of democratic consolidation. Consisting of nine chapters, this book looks at various organs of society (for example, civil society, the state, the military) and the extent to which each of them contributes to or hinders democratic consolidation.

Conflict Resolution Wisdom From Africa

alt Jannie Malan
Published by: Accord
ISBN: 10: 0958412774 13: 978-0958412773

Reviewed by: By Alioune Sall, United Nations Development Programme, Abidjan, Cote d’lvoire
In Conflict Trends Issue 1 of 1998

This is a very well written and detailed book about conflict resolution wisdom in Africa. It begins with a detailed but concise narration of African history and gradually moves on towards modern times. It focuses the discussion of conflict by utilising a social context approach. It looks at how conflicts are normally addressed in the environment where they are emerging or have emerged. Talking may start informally within the families or neighbourhoods concerned. It also looks at how members of society, i.e. elders of both genders, may make meaningful contributions to preventing conflicts. Another constructive way of preventing and counteracting conflict is to promote socio-economic development. Africa’s experience of imposed, foreign types of development has led to an important change of perspective. A home-grown version of people –centred development is being advocated, and is apparently gaining support. 

Conflict And Resolution: Peace-Building Through The Ballot Box In Zimbabwe, Namibia and Cambodia

Griffith, Allen (Allan Griffith, who had been Foreign Policy Adviser to Australian prime ministers or over 30 years, completed this book as visiting fellow of Oriel College, Oxford, shortly before his death in November 1998)
Published by: New Cherwell Press, Oxford, 1998
ISBN 10: 1900312158 /13: 978-1900312158

Reviewed by: Jannie Malan
In the African Journal on Conflict Resolution Volume 1 No. 1, 1999

The conjunction in the title of this book has not just been inserted as an attentioncatching novelty. The book is indeed about both conflict and resolution. In each of the three case studies it is not only the peace process that is described and discussed, but also the preceding conflict process. The serious cause and urgent purpose of each of the conflicts are taken into consideration. The actions and reactions of the involved people and leaders are related in a clear and well-documented way. The extended and complicated series of happenings are organised into insight-promoting units. The author makes very good use of his skills of selecting details and choosing descriptive as well as thought-prompting words. Enough detail is included to give the reader a penetrating sense of what happened. Apposite key words appear in chapter and section headings.