It is because South Africa had people like H.W. van der Merwe that we were able to enjoy a dramatic and peaceful transition to democracy, which serves as an inspiration to the world.
(Nelson Mandela’s foreword to H.W. van der Merwe’s autobiography, Van der Merwe 2000:7)
This special issue of the African Journal on Conflict Resolution (AJCR) on the theme Then and now: Perspectives on conflict resolution in South Africa (in honour of H.W. van der Merwe) is unconventional in that most of the contributions are a combination of academic deliberation, historical overview and analysis, as well as personal reflections. Moreover, it is also unusual in having two main sections. The first contains a number of more academically oriented articles that reflect on the history of South Africa prior to the end of apartheid and the role that especially H.W. van der Merwe played as one of the earliest conflict resolution theorists and practitioners in South Africa, as well as a few reflections on the current state of South Africa and some prevailing concerns. That is followed by a number of personal tributes to H.W. van der Merwe as they relate to his role and influence in an historic period in South Africa’s history, reflections that in some cases become a mixture of personal and theoretical contemplations and appreciations.
Precursors to this special edition and the life of H.W. van der Merwe
This special edition in honour of ‘H.W.’ – as he was known by friends and colleagues (his Afrikaans initials pronounced almost as the name Harvey in English) – has a history that predates its inception. It started in early 2012 with an e-mail from the well-known conflict resolution scholar and a ‘doyen’ of the International Association of Conflict Management (IACM), Dan Druckman. Alerting me to the fact that IACM was going to have its first conference on the African continent, and specifically at the Spier conference centre outside Stellenbosch in the wine region of South Africa, he requested my participation in a conference session on a topic relating to South Africa.
My response was to chair a panel of presenters who at some point in their careers worked with H.W. and could honour him for his work as a peacemaker and founding figure of the conflict resolution field for a number of decades prior to the demise of apartheid and racial segregation in South Africa. The passion with which a number of these presenters, most of whom are contributors to this edition, talked about his life and times led me to propose this special edition to AJCR editor, Jannie Malan, who attended the conference session and graciously agreed to this suggestion.
My last interaction with H.W. was towards the end of the 1990s in telling him that Professor Emeritus Chris Mitchell from George Mason University (GMU) and I were planning a series of interviews with ‘parents’ of the conflict resolution field (see www.scar.gmu.edu/parents). Sadly H.W. passed away in 2001 before we were able to conduct such an interview. However, my relationship with H.W. goes back to my days as a public affairs television anchor and journalist for the then South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) where I was often in trouble for an interviewing style and program content that was critical of the prevailing political system. My first professional interaction with H.W. was a case in point.
My request to interview him about his work at the Centre for Intergroup Studies at the University of Cape Town (UCT) was denied at the SABC. H.W. was already known for his work in trying to build bridges across the racial divide in South Africa and was thus distrusted in some official circles. It was obviously feared that putting him on television for a lengthy interview might prove to be embarrassing to the apartheid regime. Unbeknownst to me at the time, in 1981, H.W. and his wife, Marietjie, met with Winnie Mandela who was living under house-arrest in Brandfort, in the Orange Free State. This initiative later led to H.W.’s visit to Nelson Mandela in jail, their later friendship, and H.W.’s role in acting as a ‘guardian’ to two of the Mandela daughters and a granddaughter at the request of Mandela (Van der Merwe 2000:125–126).
My response to being told that I could not interview H.W. was to invite members of the senior news and public affairs management team at the SABC to a lunch with H.W., to which they agreed, providing that we would also include ‘Wimpie’ de Klerk, the well-respected editor of the Afrikaans Sunday newspaper Rapport, and politically ‘verligte’ (enlightened) brother of the later president of South Africa, F.W. de Klerk. Needless to say, H.W.’s unassuming and non-threatening style won them over. However, their compromise decision, as I remember, was that Wimpie de Klerk, who had a series of interviews with well-known South Africans on television at the time, could interview H.W., and not me!
After leaving the SABC when my position there became untenable, I ended up in America in a new doctoral program in what was then the Institute (now School) for Conflict Analysis and Resolution at GMU in the fall of 1988. This new occupational enterprise led me back to H.W. with a visit to his home in Cape Town during my first trip back to South Africa early in 1989.
I was somewhat astonished by his question as he greeted me. ‘So, were you followed here?’ he asked. He explained that his work in establishing relationships across the racial divide in South Africa meant that he was very much on the radar of the South African security police and that whoever interacted with him was therefore in the same league. I laughed and said something to the effect of ‘not to worry H.W., due to my attitude towards apartheid and how that impacted my work at the SABC they’ve had my “number” for a long time’. The gist of the story is basically to say that people like H.W. paid a price for pointing at and trying to rectify the racial injustices in South Africa, which included the distrust and disdain of some of their fellow Afrikaners and the apartheid regime.
Eventually, in not being able to do a ‘Parents of the Field’ interview with H.W., I did the next best thing and interviewed his colleague of nearly 30 years, an academic in his own right and the author of two pieces in this special edition, Ampie Muller, during my visit in 2012. In this interview, which will be on the ‘Parents’ website in the next year, Ampie refers to H.W.’s very conservative Afrikaner upbringing in the farming community of Bonnievale in the 1930s and 1940s. To escape the farming life, which H.W. found unsatisfying, he joined a missionary group in Mashonaland in Southern Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, in 1948, the year that the Nationalist Party came to power. The first few chapters of H.W.’s autobiography, Peacemaking in South Africa: A life in conflict resolution (Van der Merwe 2000), describes the depth of racial prejudices among Afrikaners at the time and has a number of very honest, self-deprecating examples of his racist attitudes while growing up and entering into a professional realm. He relates, for example, how during his time as a missionary one of his jobs, and one which he felt profoundly unprepared and untrained for, was to settle disputes among black teachers in rural communities, and how the belief that ‘apartheid was the will of God’ led him to refuse to shake the hand of an elderly headmaster. ‘This was to become one of the great regrets of my life’, he recounts in this work (Van der Merwe 2000:21).
My point in relating this story is to highlight the immense change of heart and profound emotional and political trajectory of change that H.W. underwent in his lifetime. It is also quite ironic that H.W. went from such racist beginnings to becoming an Afrikaner who was far ahead of his time in enticing and cajoling his fellow Afrikaners into accepting that apartheid was racial discrimination, and eventually into processes of social and political change. H.W.’s initial break from the racial intolerance with which he grew up, transformed into ‘intellectual dissent’ (Van der Merwe 2000:26) during his tenure as a student at the University of Stellenbosch where he studied sociology and was exposed to academics such as S.P. Cilliers and Erika Theron. He also gives particular credit to the then ‘elderly dissident, Professor Ben Keet of the theological faculty of the Dutch Reformed Church’ who was an ‘outspoken critic of apartheid, especially in advocating that this social policy could not be defended based on the Bible’ (2000:33).
I can only surmise that the inspiration of these mentors must have played a role in H.W.’s decision to undertake doctoral studies in sociology at the University of California, Los Angeles. Returning from this venture by boat in 1963, H.W., Marietjie and their first child spent ten days in London. On what H.W. calls a ‘natural urge’ he visited both the South African Embassy and the office of the ANC in what was in essence to become the first act in his ‘Facilitation Between The Apartheid Establishment And the African National Congress In Exile’ (Van der Merwe 1997:13–28). I have found this article perhaps to be the most insightful regarding H.W’s natural inclination towards wanting to bring the opposing parties together in apartheid South Africa. This predisposition starts ironically with a visit to the ANC office in London where he was met with ‘great suspicion by two black men glowering over their desks’, to building a track record of trust with the ANC to the degree that by 1977 he was greeted at another London meeting by an ANC member in Afrikaans as ‘een van ons’ (one of us).
Again, however, the facilitating role in establishing contact and trying to build communication between opposing sides in apartheid South Africa came at a price, especially if you were a member of one of the two sides in terms of your cultural upbringing, as H.W. outlined in this article:
Because I was an Afrikaner who had attended an Afrikaans university and because I had been active in the Dutch Reformed Church, I had many personal contacts in the apartheid establishment. My opposition to apartheid and my association with liberal English-speaking groups naturally estranged me from the establishment, and required special efforts on my part to keep channels of communication open. While I was an elder in good standing in the Dutch Reformed Church, it was also known that I was an active member of the ‘radical’ Christian Institute of Southern Africa, and people called me a communist (Van der Merwe 1977:16).
By 1984 H.W. was meeting secretly with top ANC leadership in Lusaka, Zambia. However, his attempts at bringing the ANC and the Afrikaner establishment together were often thwarted by the government (via the Secret Police) and sometimes by these efforts becoming public via the media. In the article under discussion, H.W. wrote about his continued efforts at the time at ‘find[ing] Nationalists in good standing, apartheid supporters, moderate and radical, who would be willing to talk to the ANC’ (Van der Merwe 1997:19), and alludes to two Stellenbosch professors but does not mention them by name. From Willie Esterhuyse’s recent memoir, Endgame: Secret talks and the end of apartheid (2012), we now know that he was one of those professors and that Sampie Terreblance was the other one. Asked to elaborate on this event, Esterhuyse provided me with this account:
During the course of 1985 – I cannot recall the date and time – I got a phone call from H.W., saying that he wanted to talk to me in confidence about an important but very delicate matter. My family and I were on holiday at our smallholding about 120 kilometres from Cape Town. Ten kilometres of the road were not tarred and in a poor condition. I told him so, hoping to put him off until after the holidays.
It did not put him off. He wanted to talk to me that very day. The matter he wanted to discuss with me, he said, was too important to postpone to another day. He arrived on the smallholding and we sat down in the shadows of some pine trees. H.W., as I got to know him, was not someone who wasted many words on a subject matter he felt strongly about. ‘I would like you and Sampie Terreblanche to accompany me to Lusaka for informal and personal talks with members of the ANC, including Thabo Mbeki.’ Just like that. To the point. I was visibly surprised. Perplexed.
He explained: ‘One day we will have to sit down with the ANC and talk about peace in our land and an end to violence. The sooner we start exploring avenues towards peace-making, the better. We have to start identifying trustworthy bridge-builders’.
He convinced me. Professor Sampie Terreblanche, a colleague from Stellenbosch University, also agreed. H.W. was in charge of the logistics.
However, not many weeks after H.W.’s visit, Terreblanche and I got a phone call from President P.W. Botha’s office, requesting the two of us to meet with him in his Cape Town office, close to the Houses of Parliament. He was quite friendly, telling us that he was informed about our planned visit to Lusaka, that he does not want us to go, and that we have better things to do. He added, with a glint of steel in his eyes: ‘We do not talk to murderers’.
Obviously, through his security police, who by then had both H.W. and Esterhuyse under telephonic surveillance, President Botha knew about H.W.’s intentions. So this attempt at informally bringing knowledgeable and influential figures from both sides together for an informal and confidential meeting, a type of second-track diplomacy as a precursor to formal negotiations between the adversaries (the South African government and the ANC), was cancelled. Ironically, just two years later, in 1987, and this time with the active assistance of the South African security police, President Botha agreed to secret talks that started to occur between ANC leaders and Afrikaners – the so called ‘Mells Park talks’ near Bath, the topic of Esterhuyse’s Endgame memoir (2012:134).
In recounting at my request H.W.’s failed attempt at setting up unofficial, informal, and confidential talks at that time, Esterhuyse also hailed H.W.’s objectives in trying to understand ‘the other’ and to develop a measure of trust between some members of the adversaries:
H.W. was in this regard a front-runner in South Africa. He, more than many others, understood that individuals can make a huge difference on the secret, unofficial, second track of negotiation. He was a shining example in this respect. To use a metaphor related to his visit to my smallholding: H.W. was prepared to travel on the dirt roads of South Africa, avoiding the highways and its visibility (Esterhuyse 2014).
A fifty year celebration
An important reason for celebrating H.W.’s career is the fact that it is now 50 years since he started his own academic career as a lecturer and later senior lecturer in sociology at Rhodes University in Grahamstown in 1963. During this time Valerie Dovey, who provides a poignant culminating remembrance to this edition, was one of H.W.’s students. Many years later (in the 1990s) he became the catalyst for her pioneering work in school-related peace education in South Africa. H.W.’s academic teaching career was short lived. As is noted in UCT’s Collection of The H.W. Van der Merwe Papers, his work with the Abe Bailey Institute of Inter-racial Studies, which later became the Centre for Intergroup Studies (CIS), started in 1968 and became the launch pad for what was essentially the focus of H.W.’s life: the promotion of communication among conflicting groups in South Africa.
While I do not want this introduction to become a literature review, a look at H.W.’s curriculum vitae gives one a sense of how from the very beginning his CIS publications indicated a need to establish communication across racial divides, but also relationship building within the cultural divides of Afrikaans and English speaking South Africans, not to mention the divides within those groups. While such interventions and related publications have been documented in detail elsewhere, I would like to note a few of them in illustrating H.W.’s intervention interests.
It is, for example, interesting to note how his publications and co-authored works from the 1970s onwards first reflected an interest in young South Africans and their perspectives on the country’s political situation and its future, with works such as Student perspectives on South Africa (Van der Merwe and Welsh 1972) and The future of the university in Southern Africa (Van der Merwe and Welsh 1977). At the same time, however, the sociologist in H.W. was clearly interested in the social makeup and internal possibilities for social change which are reflected in works such as White South African elites (Van der Merwe et al. 1974), Looking at the Afrikaner today (Van der Merwe 1975), Occupational and social change among coloured people in South Africa (Van der Merwe and Groenewald 1976), African perspectives on South Africa (Van der Merwe et al. 1978), Race and ethnicity: South African and international perspectives (Van der Merwe and Shrire 1980), and finally Legal ideology and politics in South Africa: A Social Science approach (Hund and Van der Merwe 1986).
By the late 1980s H.W.’s endeavours regarding the socio-political dilemma of South Africa had clearly taken a turn towards peacemaking and conflict resolution. His first article in this regard was entitled ‘Negotiating’ and appeared in 1987 (Van der Merwe 1987). An article on ‘Negotiation and mediation in South Africa in perspective’, with Gabi Meyer as co-author, appeared in the same year (Van der Merwe and Meyer 1987). This clearly became the focus of his work as evidenced by an article in 1988 on ‘The groundwork for political negotiation in South Africa’ (Van der Merwe 1988a). Perhaps inevitably, his writings and co-publications then took a turn towards third-party intervention methodologies with titles such as ‘Proposal for the establishment of a national facilitation and mediation service in community and political conflict’ (Van der Merwe 1988b), ‘Impossible impartiality? A case study on facilitation/mediation in the South African context’ (Van der Merwe 1989a), and ‘Political mediation in South Africa: Problems and challenges’ (Van der Merwe, Meyer and Honikman 1989).
This all culminated in his book on Pursuing justice and peace in South Africa (Van der Merwe 1989b:vii) in which he emphasised that ‘the pursuit of justice and peace is not an objective academic exercise. It is motivated by the subjective desire to build a better society’. He concluded the preface to the book with the following statement:
Awareness of the grave injustices of the current political system has brought home to me the urgent need for fundamental change to the social structure. The intensification of the struggle, however, has led to increased polarization and erosion of the middle ground. In recent years I have been responding actively to the great need for mediation and conciliation. This tendency is reflected in this book.
The publication of this book the year before Nelson Mandela was released from prison was also H.W.’s way of theorising about the processes that were needed to transform the asymmetric societal relationships in the country. In researching an article on how the notion of transformation was to a degree starting to supplant the concept of conflict resolution (Botes 2003), I cited H.W.’s conclusion in this book (1989b:116) that ‘the term conflict resolution does not apply to fundamental social problems in South Africa,’ and that without radical change to deal with the gross inequalities and injustices in the social and political system, justice and peace could not be achieved.
A number of the arguments that H.W. makes towards the end of his book turned out to be quite prophetic. For example, he concluded the chapter on third-party intervention with the notion that improved communication and facilitation was what was needed in the South African situation, not mediation. Many black South Africans resisted the notion of mediation to resolve apartheid essentially because racial segregation was deemed a social injustice and not a conflict to be mediated. Facilitation, H.W. argued, could indeed pave the way towards mediation, and added that the extreme polarisation in South Africa at the time made mediation inappropriate.
In recognising the importance of institutionalising modern techniques regarding conflict and industrial relations that the relatively newly founded Independent Mediation Service of South Africa (IMSSA) was starting to play in the early 1980s, H.W. made a case for a similar body to resolve community and political conflict in South Africa. In this journal edition we have a very personal detailed analysis of how the mediation process in South Africa unfolded starting with IMSSA and in what kind of conflicts this process would eventually be utilised. Charles Nupen refers to precursors to the advancement of mediation in South and Southern Africa, and specifically to H.W. van der Merwe, Richard Rosenthal, and Van Zyl Slabbert. He also credits Loet Douwes-Dekker for his inspirational guidance towards creating IMSSA in 1984. Nupen’s article provides a history of that era that as far as I know has not been provided before.
In Pursuing justice and peace in South Africa H.W. describes two issues that were of ongoing importance to him in his life: his leaving of the Dutch Reformed Church and becoming a Quaker, and hence, his interest in and commitment to non-violence. Here he laments that ‘violence is endemic in mankind and in South Africa. Resort[ing] to violence is justified by virtually all religious and political leaders in all major conflicting groups in South Africa’ (1989b:104).
Sadly, 20 years later, the endemic nature of violence in South Africa is still one of the nation’s biggest social problems; hence, it is the topic of more than one article in this special edition. The first is written by Hugo van der Merwe, H.W.’s third child, who followed in his father’s footsteps and became a conflict resolution scholar-practitioner in his own right. He honours his father’s legacy by writing what is in a sense an update of H.W.’s original article with Sue Williams (Van der Merwe and Williams 1987) on violence as a form of communication and shows how this legacy of the past has persisted in the new South Africa. Both Hugo van der Merwe and Ampie Muller, who wrote the second article on violence in this edition, provide disturbing analyses of how violence as a legacy of the social and racial history of South Africa has persisted, and stress how urgently this problem needs to be addressed if the promise of the new South Africa is to survive.
Andries Odendaal, a former Dutch Reformed minister and now conflict resolution practitioner all over Africa, who received some his early training in this field under H.W., has written a very insightful essay in memory of H.W. in this edition and essentially highlights how H.W.’s Quakerism influenced his practice. H.W. addresses the notion of how ‘Quakerism is a way of life, rather than a dogma or creed’ in his autobiography (Van der Merwe 2000:53), and notes that the ANC referred to him as ‘an honest Quaker broker’ (Van der Merwe 2000:55). In this edition Odendaal relates the moral dilemmas of a mediator in the case of H.W. to his Quaker background. It is a topic that H.W. also gives some perspective to in his autobiography by noting that his Quaker background played a role in his shift from activism towards rather securing justice as a bridge builder and peacemaker.
H.W. then and South Africa now
The more theory and research-based articles in the first part of this special edition are ‘book-ended’ by Jannie Malan’s very personal overview of H.W.’s life and times and Sifiso Mbuyisa’s analysis of the shortcomings and best practices of public participation as participatory conflict resolution in the current South Africa. This edition covers H.W. van der Merwe’s career in what Jannie Malan aptly calls ‘intergroup togethering’ quite well. Put differently, I believe this edition assists in what ACCORD’s Vasu Gounden in his reflection of H.W. van der Merwe calls rectifying the ‘unsung hero’ status of H.W. as a founding father of the conflict resolution field in South Africa. The most recent academic recognition of H.W.’s role as someone ‘who united South Africa’s enemies’ comes in the form of an exploration of his work in conflict resolution and mediation in South Africa; as ‘sociology in practice’, it encapsulates H.W.’s work since his start 50 years ago as a sociologist at Rhodes University in Grahamstown (Liebenberg 2011:1).
However, this edition does not provide a full analysis of the current state of conflict and conflict resolution in South Africa in spite of the contributions by Charles Nupen in highlighting mediation in the current South Africa, and Sifiso Mbuyisa’s appeal for public participation to be added as an additional resource in conflict resolution practice. For example, no direct or in-depth analysis is offered in this edition of the discontent and various types of conflict that have arisen in the nearly 20 years since the new South Africa came into being in 1994. Problems such as a very troubling rate of unemployment, the recent violence in the labour sector, or the discontent or ‘xenophobia’ regarding immigration to South Africa, are not directly addressed.
To reference H.W. van der Merwe in the form of his earlier discussed book published in 1989, we are still desperately ‘pursuing justice and peace in South Africa’. Moreover, one could argue that Lederach’s (2008:101) notion of a ‘justice gap’ in which a national peace process does not ultimately redress ‘fundamental patterns of injustice, particularly in the arena of poverty and economic disparity’, applies to the current South Africa in a number of ways. A strong case can, for example, be made that the peace building process in South Africa over the last two decades has suffered from factors that lead to a justice gap:
The justice gap happens when open violence diminishes through national accords but people’s expectations for some level of incremental improvement of their basic needs are not met in practical and palpable ways. A deep sense of betrayal and of a cheap, political peace is often experienced (Lederach 2008:102).
Furthermore, South Africa seems to be a prime example of a post-conflict society in which peace first translated into an image of safety and security, but is still struggling to provide a quality of life, livelihood, and social well-being. These inequalities, according to justice gap theory, specifically include ‘decent employment or a piece of land, a house, access to education, and food on the table’ (Lederach 2008:101–102). In the case of South Africa, the discontent regarding these inequalities has the potential for creating major conflict in the future.
In a recent talk, Willie Esterhuyse (2013) argued that ‘the inability or unwillingness to get a real dialogue going, creating spaces for dealing for instance with the justice gap is the Achilles-heel of our young democracy’. He appealed for attention to the government’s recent National Development Plan as ‘a medium to long term vision of the future which should be the primary focus of a national, regional, and localized dialogue, across party-political, ideological, and ethnic barriers’.
Put differently, South Africa is in need of a new generation of H.W. van der Merwes.
- Botes, Johannes 2003. Conflict transformation: A debate over semantics or a crucial shift in the theory and practice of Peace and Conflict Studies. International Journal of Peace Studies, Vol. 8, No. 2, pp. 1–27.
- Esterhuyse, Willie 2012. Endgame: Secret talks and the end of apartheid. Cape Town, Tafelberg.
- Esterhuyse, Willie 2013. Talking to the enemy: the South African case study. The 25th Annual Lynch Lecture, School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution. George Mason University, Fairfax, VA, USA (October 24).
- Esterhuyse, Willie 2014. H.W: Front-runner in second-track talks. A personal account provided to this special edition by request.
- Hund, John and Hendrik W. van der Merwe 1986. Legal ideology and politics in South Africa: A social science approach. New York, University Press of America; Cape Town, Centre for Intergroup Studies.
- Lederach, John Paul 2008. The role of corporate actors in peace-building processes: Opportunities and processes. In: Williams, Oliver F. ed. Peace through commerce: Responsible corporate citizenship and the ideals of the United Nations Global Compact. Notre Dame, IN, University of Notre Dame Press.
- Liebenberg, Ian 2011. Sociology in practice: H.W. van der Merwe’s contribution to conflict resolution and mediation in South Africa. Acta Academica, 43 (1), pp. 1–38.
- Van der Merwe, H.W. 2000. Peacemaking in South Africa. A life in conflict resolution. Cape Town, Tafelberg.
- Van der Merwe, Hendrik W. 1975. Looking at the Afrikaner today. Cape Town, Tafelberg. Based on the Centre’s Research Workshop, The Afrikaner today, 1974.
- Van der Merwe, Hendrik W. 1987. Negotiating. In: The high road: A leadership publication, November, pp.16–19.
- Van der Merwe, Hendrik W. 1988a. Groundwork for political negotiation in South Africa. Paper presented at the Symposium on The Communication Process of Political Negotiation, Rand Afrikaans University, 12 August 1988. Published in Communicare, 7 (2), pp. 5–16.
- Van der Merwe, Hendrik W. 1988b. Proposal for the establishment of a national facilitation and mediation service in community and political conflict. Paper presented at the Conflict and Peace Working Group of the Nineteenth Annual Congress of the Association for Sociology in South Africa (ASSA) in association with the South African Association for Conflict Intervention, University of Durban-Westville, 6 July. Published in Con-Text, 1, pp. 69–80.
- Van der Merwe, Hendrik W. 1989a. Impossible impartiality? A case study on facilitation/mediation in the South African context. In: Quaker Peace and Service ed. Document arising from the Consultation on Quaker experience of political mediation. London, Quaker Peace and Service.
- Van der Merwe, Hendrik W. 1989b. Pursuing justice and peace in South Africa. London, Routledge.
- Van der Merwe, Hendrik W. 1997. Facilitation between the apartheid establishment and the African National Congress in exile. Emory International Law Review, 11, pp. 13–28.
- Van der Merwe, Hendrik W. and C.J. Groenewald eds. 1976. Occupational and social change among coloured people in South Africa. Cape Town, Juta. Based on the Centre’s Research Workshop on Mobility and Political Change in South Africa, 1975.
- Van der Merwe, Hendrik W. and David Welsh eds. 1972. Student perspectives on South Africa. London, Rex Collings; Cape Town, David Philip Publisher. Based on the Centre’s Research Workshop, Race and Politics among South African Students, 1971.
- Van der Merwe, Hendrik W. and David Welsh eds. 1977. The future of the University in Southern Africa. Cape Town, David Philip Publisher. Based on the Centre’s research workshop, The role of universities in Southern Africa, 1976.
- Van der Merwe, Hendrik W. and Gabi Meyer 1987b. Negotiation and mediation in South Africa in perspective. South Africa International, 18 (2), pp. 79–91.
- Van der Merwe, Hendrik W. and Robert Shrire eds. 1980. Race and Ethnicity: South African and international perspectives. Cape Town, David Philip Publisher. Contains a selection of papers presented at the UCT Summer School, 1979.
- Van der Merwe, Hendrik W. and Sue Williams 1987. Pressure and cooperation: Complementary aspects of the process of communication between conflicting parties in South Africa. Paradigms, 1 (1), pp. 8–13.
- Van der Merwe, Hendrik W., Gabi Meyer and Karen Honikman 1989. Political mediation in South Africa: Problems and challenges. Paper presented at the 38th Annual Conference of the International Communication Association, New Orleans, USA, 2 June 1988. Published in Organization Development Journal, 7 (3), pp. 69–75.
- Van der Merwe, Hendrik W., M.J. Ashley, Nancy C.J. Charton, and Bettina J. Huber 1974. White South African elites: A study of incumbents in top positions in the Republic of South Africa. Cape Town, Juta.
- Van der Merwe, Hendrik W., Nancy C. J. Charton, D.A. Kotze and Ake Magnusson eds. 1978. African perspectives on South Africa. Stanford, CA, Hoover Institution Press; London, Rex Collings; Cape Town, David Philip Publisher. Volume 1 of series ‘Black and White perspectives on South Africa’.