The last issue of ACCORD's African Journal on Conflict Resolution (AJCR) of 2013 (Vol 13, No 3) was a special one on the theme Then and now: Perspectives on conflict resolution in South Africa (in honour of H.W. van der Merwe). It was launched at a small but very inspiring function held at the Quaker Peace Centre in Cape Town, South Africa on 13 May 2014. ACCORD was represented by Mr Jerome Sachane, Deputy Director, and senior researchers, Dr Candice Moore and Prof Jannie Malan. Prof Malan is also managing editor of the AJCR.
The launch was attended by 20 participants, among them active peacemakers as well as family and friends of the late South African peace activist and mediator.
Guests at the launch pose for a group photo
Prof Jannie Botes of the University of Baltimore, who was the guest editor and author of the introductory article, explained how this issue developed out of a session on the pioneering work of Prof H.W. van der Merwe held at the 2012 conference of the International Association of Conflict Management. Emeritus Prof Chris Mitchell of George Mason University, who is cooperating with Prof Botes in the 'Parents of the field' interview project, recalled the quiet but very powerful way in which, from as early as fifty years ago, H.W. dared to bring enemies in apartheid South Africa together to listen to and talk with each other. Also in attendance were five of the authors who contributed to this special issue who briefly referred to what they emphasised in their articles and tributes. One of them was Dr Hugo van der Merwe, son of H.W. and Marietjie van der Merwe. H.W.'s brother, Laubscher, and his wife were also present.
Participants eagerly added comments about H.W.'s welcoming attitude, his often surprising ingenuity and his remarkably appropriate way of functioning as mediator. In follow-up messages participants expressed their great appreciation for ACCORD's publishing of a special issue on this theme, and for the privilege of attending the launch.
You can access the 2013 special issue of AJCR by clicking here.
AJCR publishes the writings of a wide range of African and international authors in the field, but emphasis has deliberately been kept on profiling articles of African writers, and the thinking emerging from African universities, colleges and organisations.
Articles in the journal are longer and more in-depth than those found in ACCORD's Conflict Trends Magazine, and are of an overtly academic nature. However, readership is not limited to audiences in academic institutions, and the literary style has deliberately been kept accessible and straightforward.