Problematising Resistance

Amanda Alexander & Mandisa Mbali (eds.)
Durban: University of KwaZulu-Natal. Centre for Civil Society Research Reports, 2005, 255 pp.
ISBN: 978-9966-065-73-5

Problematising Resistance is a collection of research and analytical papers that reflect on new social movements in post-apartheid South Africa. The editors also seek to capture the global dimensions of the new social movements by including papers on the Ogoni movement in Nigeria and on international peasant solidarity. The point of departure is that these movements are reactions to neo-liberal policies. The editors therefore contend that this collection will contribute to the emerging literature on resistance to neo-liberalism.

The first paper, by Sanya Osha, on the Ogoni protest movement in the Niger Delta of Nigeria sets the pace. Underpinning his analysis is the theory of internal colonialism, which in essence revolves around the structural, political and cultural alienation of minority communities in post-colonial African states. Such alienation is a reality for Ogoni, Ijaw and other minorities that live in the Niger Delta.

Power, Wealth and Global Order: An International Relations Textbook for Africa

alt Edited by Philip Nel and Patrick McGowan
University of Cape Town Press, South Africa, 1999
ISBN: 10: 1919713301 13: 978-1919713304

Reviewed by: Jo-Ansie van Wyk, Department of Political Sciences University of South Africa (UNISA) Pretoria, South Africa.
In Conflict Trends Issue 3 of 1999

Dedicated to the thousands of students in Africa who, often under difficult conditions, study International Relations, and commissioned by the Foundation for Global Dialogue, this publication is a collaboration by contributors from a number of South African and United States institutions.

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

Polarization_and_transformation_in_Zimbabwe.jpg Erin McCandless 
Lexington Books, 2011, 270 pp.
ISBN-13: 978-0739125953

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.

Pillar of Sand: Can the Irrigation Miracle Survive?

alt Sandra Postel
Published by: New York & London: WW Norton & Co
ISBN: 10: 0393319377 13: 978-0393319378

Reviewed in Conflict Trends Issue 2 of 2000

In her book Pillar of Sand, Sandra Postel’s contribution is rather unique. She combines well-crafted language and solid primary material with deep insight, making the book easy to read. While her Malthusian-style may open her to criticism, she has worked skillfully.

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.