Document Type


Publication Date

Winter 1995


In Copyright


With the possible exception of the Horn of Africa, arguably no other African region has been subject to multiple traumas such as those endured by Southern Africa. From the brutal Portuguese colonization to the vicious civil wars in Angola and Mozambique, not to mention the ravages of apartheid in South Africa and Namibia, the last four hundred years have seen sheer brutality of man over fellow man. Since 1990, however, there has been a steady reversal of the conditions that have historically caused violence in the region. In this article, the author examines this legacy and the struggle to construct politically viable states from a human rights dimension. Although countries in the region are states juridically, they lack the other essential ingredients of stable statehood, such as nationally committed political classes, a loyal citizenry with a sense of civic duty, and a strong base for economic development. Unless emergent democracies develop such variables, the experiment with open and free societies may fail. Human rights can only be secured when these fundamental questions on the viability of the state are successfully addressed.

Publication Title

Brown Journal of World Affairs

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Originally published in the Brown Journal of World Affairs.

Required Text

Originally published in the Brown Journal of World Affairs.