Walk with us and listen: Political reconciliation in Africa

walk with us and listen Villa-Vicencio,Charles
Washington, D.C., Georgetown University Press, 225 pp.
ISBN-13: 978-1589015722
Reviewed by Allard Duursma, in the African Journal on Conflict Resolution 11 No. 3, 2011

In Walk with us and listen, Charles Villa-Vicencio addresses in 225 pages one of the most significant current issues in the field of Conflict Resolution: examining how to achieve a balance between reconciliation and punitive justice in post- conflict environments. Charles Villa-Vicencio was born in South Africa in 1948 and was raised to believe in the superiority of whites. In time, however, he developed a deep sense of the injustice of such an ideology, and subsequently became increasingly involved in the political struggle against apartheid. He has also participated in peace initiatives in several other African countries. Villa-Vicencio draws on these experiences in his book, which makes the book well-grounded in practice.

Conflict resolution in the 21st century: Principles, methods and approaches


Jacob Bercovitch and Richard Jackson
Ann Arbor, MI, University of Michigan Press 2009, 226 pp.
ISBN: 9780472050628
Reviewed by Tamara J. Kirkwood, Coordinator: Monitoring, Evaluation and Systems at ACCORD, South Africa, in the African Journal on Conflict Resolution 11 No. 2, 2011

In this book, Jacob Bercovitch and Richard Jackson, two internationally recognised experts, undertake the systematic evaluation of traditional and modern principles, methods and approaches to conflict resolution. The authors argue that, in the current context of post-Cold War relations, terrorism and intra-state conflict, the 'toolkit' used for conflict resolution needs to be vastly expanded and improved to include tools from a range of related disciplines in order to successfully address and deal with conflict in the 21st century.

Crafting an African security architecture: Addressing regional peace and conflict in the 21st century

Hany Besada (ed.)
Farnham, Surrey, Ashgate, 2010, 222 pp.
ISBN 978-1-4094-0325-8
Reviewed by Martha Mutisi, Senior Researcher in the Knowledge Production Department at ACCORD, South Africa, in the African Journal on Conflict Resolution Volume 11, No.2, 2011

Comprising twelve chapters on eclectically chosen topics ranging from Disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR), Security sector reform (SSR), and Responsibility to Protect (R2P) to Peacekeeping and Peacebuilding, this book combines geo-political expertise of the North and the South in an analysis of peace and security challenges facing the African continent. The book provides valuable reading for policy makers, scholars, and researchers in international relations, political science, peace and security studies as well as conflict resolution.

The Resolution of African Conflicts: The Management of Conflict Resolution and Post-conflict Reconstruction

Alfred Nhema and Paul Tiyambe Zeleza
Ohio University Press, 2008, 207 pp.
ISBN-13: 978 1 84701 302 6

 An observation of conflict trends in Africa indicates that intrastate armed conflicts, which were on the rise between 1990 and 1998, have significantly decreased in number. Many conflicts on the continent have been settled and others are in the process of being resolved, generally through peaceful means. However, a number of conflicts remain a challenge in Africa.

The Makana Football Association: More Than Just a Game

Chuck Korr and Marvin Close
Collins, 2009, 336 pp.
ISBN-13: 978-0007302994
Reviewed by John Daniel, late retired Professor of Political Science who lived in Durban, South Africa in 'Playing for Peace' special issue, June 2010

‘More than just a game’ is an oft-used cliché to describe the socio-political impact of sports. It is particularly apt in regard to some of the great inter-club (for example, Glasgow Rangers v Celtic, or Real Madrid v Barcelona in football) and international (Russia v Canada in ice-hockey) sporting rivalries. Annually, tens of thousands of football fans trek across Europe in support of their teams as they battle it out for coveted pan-European soccer trophies, while growing numbers of English cricket supporters - the so-called ‘Barmy Army’ - flee the European winter to follow their team around the ‘old Empire’ of India, Sri Lanka, South Africa, the Caribbean, Australia and New Zealand.

From Soldiers to Citizens: Demilitarization of Conflict and Society

João Gomes Porto, Chris Alden and Imogen Parsons
Aldershot. Ashgate, 2007, 192 pp.
ISBN 978-0-7546-7210-4
Reviewed by Grace Maina, Acting Manager of the Knowledge Production Department at ACCORD, South Africa, in the African Journal on Conflict Resolution Volume 10 No. 1, 2010

The focus of this book falls into the greater discussions of peace-building and post-conflict reconstruction. This book provides an in-depth analysis of the Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration (DDR) process and delves into an even deeper conversation about the concept and practice of Reintegration. The authors use empirical research on the Angolan DDR process to assess the merits and challenges of our understanding of the process of reintegration.

Peace: A World History

Antony Adolf
Cambridge, Polity Press, 2009, 272 pp.
ISBN: 0780745641263
Reviewed by Laura Grant, Intern at ACCORD, South Africa, 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.

The Media and Conflicts in Central Africa

Marie-Soleil Frère, with a contribution from Jean-Paul Marthoz
Lynne Rienner Publishers 2007, 287pp.
ISBN (hbk): 978-1-58826-489-3 / (sbk): 978-1-58826-465-7

Reviewed by Paulo Nuno Vicente

In these times of Internet communication and mass media overflow, do we really know anything about the Other? What can we summarise from media reports about Africa, except prejudgments and superficialities? How truly informed are we about conflicts in Central Africa?

In this book, Marie-Soleil Frère synthesises the interaction between the mass media and conflict in Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Rwanda, Congo-Brazzaville, the Central African Republic, Chad, Cameroon, Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.

From Warfare to Welfare: Human Security in a Southern African Context

warfare to wellfare Marie Muller and Bas De Gaay Fortman (eds.) 
Royal Van Gorcum, 2004, 188 pp.
ISBN-13: 90232 4043X
Reviewed by Jannie Malan, Senior Researcher in the Knowledge Production Department at ACCORD, South Africa, in the African Journal on Conflict Resolution Volume 10 No. 1, 2005

Undoubtedly, the question of security in Southern Africa will continue to be one of the main issues for discussion around regional cooperation among member states that belong to the Southern African Development Community (SADC). This is the case for a number of reasons. These include the fact that the sub-region does not seem to have been able to define in clear and concrete terms what approach it ought to take when it comes to its security.

Saviours And Survivors: Darfur, Politics And The War On Terror

Mahmood Mamdani (ed.)
Published by: Human Sciences Research Council Press, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-7969-2252-6
Reviewed by Karanja Mbugua, Senior Analyst in the Peacemaking Unit at ACCORD, South Africa, in the African Journal on Conflict Resolution Volume 9 No. 1, 2009

The conflict in Darfur, Sudan, has attracted a tremendous amount of attention in the last six years. Scholars, humanitarian organisations and investigative commissions and panels sponsored by the African Union and the United Nations have produced a large amount of information and analyses regarding the context, actors, causes and consequences, underlying goals and interests, and other dynamics that have been driving the conflict. These analyses, which reflect the different views and interests of the various groups in Sudan and in the West, are human rights, political science or anthropological narratives of Darfur in particular, and Sudan in general.