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Security and Politics in South Africa: The Regional Dimension

Peter Vale
Security and Politics in South Africa: The Regional Dimension
ISBN: 978-1-58826-115-1
2002/251 pages/LC: 2002029167
A related title: From Cape to Congo: Southern Africa's Evolving Security edited by Mwesiga Baregu and Christopher Landsberg.

"Peter Vale has written a powerful book, denouncing the dominant state-centric conception of security in South Africa."—Howard P. Lehman, Africa Today

"A challenging and interesting contribution to the literature on security in southern Africa, which succeeds in broadening the debate about the region's possible futures."— Rita Abrahamsen, Journal of Modern African Studies

"A challenging, stimulating, and important work, incorporating a profound critique of South African approaches to security-making both before and after the demise of apartheid.... Vale offers some intriguing pointers toward a different and more hopeful vision of community and security in the region."—David Black, Dalhousie University


In this analysis of South Africa's postapartheid security system, Peter Vale moves beyond a realist discussion of interacting states to examine southern Africa as an integrated whole.

Vale argues that, despite South Africa's manipulation of state structures and elites in the region for its own ends, the suffering endured under the apartheid regime drew the region together at the popular level; and economic factors, such as the use of migrant labor, reinforced the process of integration. Exploring how the region is changing today—as transnational solidarity and a single regional economy remove the distinctions between national and international politics—he asks whether South African domination can finally be overcome and considers what sort of cosmopolitan political arrangement will be appropriate for southern Africa in the new century.


Peter Vale is Nelson Mandela Professor of Politics at Rhodes University, South Africa. An influential commentator on foreign policy and contributor to such journals as International Affairs, Survival, Foreign Affairs, and Alternatives, he served as a member of the ANC's foreign policy advisory group during South Africa's transition to democracy. He is coeditor of Bridges to the Future: Prospects for Peace and Security in Southern Africa, Out of Conflict: From War to Peace in Africa, and Theory, Change and Southern Africa's Future.


  • New Beginning.
  • The South African Moment.
  • Making South Africa's Security.
  • Writing Migration as Apartheid.
  • Ordering Southern Africa.
  • Continuity and Community.
  • Primus Inter Pares?Afterword.
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