Home > Themes > Emerging powers > Africa’s pre-eminent peacemaker? An appraisal of South Africa’s peacemaking role in the Democratic Republic of Congo

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Milfrid Tonheim

Milfrid Tonheim is a senior researcher at the Centre for Intercultural Communication (SIK) in Stavanger, Norway. Her main research interests are peace and conflict, reintegration of former child soldiers, the rights and well-being of the child and social exclusion. Most of her research is conduct...
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Gerrie Swart

Gerrie Swart lectures in political conflict, African politics and conflict in Africa in the Department of Political Science at Stellenbosch University, South Africa. He is currently completing his PhD in political science at Stellenbosch University. He has written extensively on the conflict in t...
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Africa’s pre-eminent peacemaker? An appraisal of South Africa’s peacemaking role in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Milfrid Tonheim, Gerrie Swart , 6 February 2015

This report reflects on the role of South Africa (SA) as peacemaker on the African continent from 1996 until 2013, focusing in particular on its role in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). SA’s efforts in the realm of peace and security in Africa are scrutinised through a case study of its engagement in the DRC from 1996 to 2013. The report shows that SA has played and still plays an important role in conflict resolution and peacemaking on the African continent. SA is not acting on its own; it is supported by and operating within the parameters of the South African Development Community (SADC) and the African Union (AU). Many of SA’s peacemaking efforts, for instance in relation to the DRC, are also undertaken under the auspices of the UN. The country’s status as an emerging power, its relatively strong economy, its technology and know-how, its past experience of a peaceful transition from apartheid to democracy, and the respect and high esteem in which SA is held by other African countries are all characteristics that equip SA to play the role of a continental peacemaker.

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