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SOUTH AFRICA: CHARTING A FOREIGN POLICY: ". . . Political purpose? No problem, once we stopped to think about it. Who can doubt, as we've had occasion to emphasize in previous editorials in these pages, that southern Africa remains an instructive microcosm of much of what ails the world, even if globally inflicted structural adjustment packages and locally-generated despots have now replaced desiccated colonialisms and apartheid autocrats as the main indices of regional blight? . . ."

vol 10 no 5

Editorial and contents for Vol 10 No 5
the SAR editorial collective


Printable Version
Southern Africa Report

SAR, Vol 10, No 5, July 1995
Page 1
"Editorial"

EDITORIAL:
TEN YEARS YOUNG

Well, we did it. Now we'll just have to do it again. We're talking about ten years of Southern Africa Report . Not that we've won any National Magazine Awards here in Canada. We've never been cited in the Toronto Globe and Mail 's prestigious "Magazines" overview. Nor have we ever had our existence noted by such Globe pundits as Robert Fulford or Rick Salutin. However, we do seem to have a loyal, to judge by renewal rates, and even growing (albeit by tens and twenties rather than hundreds and thousands), readership, both in Canada and abroad. Word of mouth, and the occasional letter, also tells us that the both the aesthetic and political quality of what we've been doing remains at an acceptable level. According to our readers, we've managed to weather the transition from the heady days of liberation movements and anti-apartheid struggle in southern Africa to the present moment of greyer and more sobering realities in a reasonably convincing and interesting manner. Certainly the enterprise continues to convince and interest us.

The editorial collective still sports some of the same wizened veterans who helped launch our endeavours a decade ago, for example. And just enough young blood has since joined the magazine team to suggest that southern Africa support work is not merely an agenda for geriatrics. True, we've come close to losing our zest for the enterprise from time to time. This spring we went through some soul-searching when we questioned, quite fundamentally and in concert with others beyond the working group itself, the present state of our finances, of our energy level, and, not least, of our sense of political purpose.

Political purpose? No problem, once we stopped to think about it. Who can doubt, as we've had occasion to emphasize in previous editorials in these pages, that southern Africa remains an instructive microcosm of much of what ails the world, even if globally inflicted structural adjustment packages and locally-generated despots have now replaced desiccated colonialisms and apartheid autocrats as the main indices of regional blight? Nor should we doubt that southern Africans - in the present issue Marlea Clarke tells us of two women who well qualify as shining examples - will continue to give us all lessons in what it means to fight back. And, as our shared vulnerability, North and South, to the vagaries of footloose global capital becomes ever more apparent, there is also a lot to be learned from the new kinds of ties that are being forged between Canadians and southern Africans in the post-apartheid period. Political purpose aplenty, then. As for finances, that's another question. In this regard, we hope that any of you reading this issue will subscribe, if you don't do so already, and will also get any institution you have access to (your library, for example) to subscribe as well. As hinted above, even the odd five or ten new subscriptions is enough to revive our energies when they start to flag. We'd also be further energized if readers were to take rather more active ownership of the magazine. Certainly, we'd welcome any advice you might have about the substance of what we're doing: subjects to be covered, authors to be solicited, lines of analysis to be explored. And how about a few more "public" letters - the more argumentative the better - to enliven our pages and help push us all a step forward in our thinking. Help us, in short, to give you ten more years of something otherwise not easy to come by: pertinent and politically pretty correct writing on something - we suspect you'll agree - even more important than the O.J. Simpson trial!

* * *

We hope, too, that you'll forgive such slightly self-indulgent mid-summer musings on the occasion of our tenth anniversary. Your reward, in the rest of the magazine, is some of the same kind of strong stuff on southern Africa that you've become accustomed to. Front and centre are pieces by Roger Southall and Peter Vale on some key aspects of South Africa's foreign policy-making, part of our on-going effort to determine what's really new about the "new South Africa." Not enough, Vale at least seems to suggest, and this is an opinion shared by Patrick Bond in these pages as he critiques an earlier article by our own Barry Pinsky on the ANC's housing strategy. Look, too, for some illumination from Gerry Maré of the sinister doings that continue to unfold in KwaZulu-Natal. And, from Alexander Costy, a nice spin on the question of Mozambican NGOs and the state of "civil society" in that country. Some good reviews, too, one from long-time contributor, Bruce Kidd, reflecting back on the anti- apartheid struggle on the sporting front, and another from Michael Valpy on Nelson Mandela's autobiography. And wait 'til you see what we've got lined up for you in volume 11, number one. Yes, we really are going to do our first decade all over again.

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Southern Africa Report
Contents - Vol 10 No 5
"South Africa: Charting a Foreign Policy"

Editorial: Ten Years Young - 1

Regional Security: The 'New Security' in Southern Africa - 3
by Roger Southall

Prisoner of the Past? The New South Africa Abroad - 7
by Peter Vale

The Sad Saga of KwaZulu-Natal - 11
by Gerhard Maré

Donor Dollars and Mozambique NGOs - 15
by Alexander Costy

Gender Field Workers: A Toronto Visit - 20
by Marlea Clarke

Undermining the RDP: A reply to Barry Pinsky - 23
by Patrick Bond

Review: Sporting Colours - 27
review by Bruce Kidd

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Printable Version

Disclaimer: Opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer(s) and not do necessarily reflect the views of the AfricaFiles' editors and network members. They are included in our material as a reflection of a diversity of views and a variety of issues. Material written specifically for AfricaFiles may be edited for length, clarity or inaccuracies.

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