Analysis of Pretoria's peace democracy in Africa from 1994-2014.
Mhlongo, Bavuksile Hanna.
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Pretoria’s foreign policy has undergone evolution since the advent of democracy as the ANC government has moved to take its place in the international relations arena. This evolution has seen South Africa establish itself as a significant role player in peace diplomacy in the African continent. From the time Pretoria started engaging in peace diplomacy, its efforts have met many challenges. For instance, in the 1990s, the democratic government created enemies in the continent after Pretoria publicly criticised the Nigerian government for executing the Ogoni activists, who included writer Ken Saro-Wiwa. As a result after 1999, Pretoria emphasised respecting other African nations’ sovereignty. South Africa resolved that it would engage in conflict resolution when invited by its counterparts. Through the launch of the African Renaissance, a continent’s renewal programme, South Africa has engaged in peace diplomacy through multilateralism. This way Pretoria has managed to achieve its goal of promoting Africa’s development on the one hand and on the other hand avoid to be seen as meddling in other African nations’ domestic affairs. Pretoria has also received praise for its peace diplomacy in countries such as Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). And many observers attribute South Africa’s success in peace mediation to the role Nelson Mandela, Thabo Mbeki and Jacob Zuma have played as principal foreign policy actors during their presidencies. While many foreign policy observers claim that Pretoria’s foreign policy was rooted in the idealistic approach during Mandela’s presidency, Mbeki’s was based on realistic approach and Jacob Zuma has followed in the footsteps of his predecessor, this is not entirely true. There is evidence that classifying Pretoria’s foreign policy as such is a simplistic understanding of the country’s international relations. Many observers also contend that while the post-apartheid government continues to make its mark as a peace mediator in the continent, South Africa’s foreign policy is still full of contradictions.