Matthew Graham. 2015. the Crisis of South African Foreign Policy and the ANC: Diplomacy, Leadership and the Role of the African National Congress

By Singh, Utsav Kumar | African Studies Quarterly, December 2016 | Go to article overview

Matthew Graham. 2015. the Crisis of South African Foreign Policy and the ANC: Diplomacy, Leadership and the Role of the African National Congress


Singh, Utsav Kumar, African Studies Quarterly


Matthew Graham. 2015. The Crisis of South African Foreign Policy and the ANC: Diplomacy, Leadership and the Role of the African National Congress. London: I.B. Tauris. 320 pp.

The book traverses through the different phases of the National and International experience of South Africa placing the ANC as the pole star in the entire analysis. The work enciphers the diplomatic and leadership attributes attached with the ANC and provides a detailed, descriptive and necessitous erudition. The book is an attempt to encompass the continuities and the discontinuities amidst the wavering global milieu and most interestingly the highlight has been the new found ideals of the effective and meaningful foreign policy of South Africa. Graham's methodological and interrogative approach to dive deep into analysis of contextual relevance of the ANC into shaping the nation's prospects is not only substantial but praise worthy. In any foreign policy analysis there is a chance of missing the continuity, but Graham has passed the litmus test. His work underscores the thread and does not miss the correlations. There is also a vivid balance in the analysis as he has carefully mentioned each and every aspect such as the role of institutions, the ANC, individual decision makers, contextual relevance of the domestic and foreign attributes, and the leadership. Graham develops a narrative where he successfully connects the reader and the entire theme. The strength of Graham's work lies in the informative analysis of history, he brings out exactly how inconsistencies and the inveterate contradictions beleaguered the country's global approach amidst domestic metamorphosis.

The book has done one phenomenal three phase analysis of the three distinct periods of the ANC, the ANC in exile (1960-90), South Africa's transition from Apartheid to democracy (1990-94), and the ANC in government (1994-present). The book moves from capturing just only a narrow analysis of the democratic era, for it expands to entail the analysis and assessment of the ANC out into the nation's transition period and the key events and experiences in the movement's exiled liberation struggle. Predominantly this historical work includes all dimensions of the post-apartheid South African crises with a combination of past and future until Thabo Mbeki resigned. The work does not include the presidencies of either Kgalema Motlanthe or Jacob Zuma.

The introduction itself is so mesmerizing that it conjoins the reader and the text invariably and helps develop an insight about the nation's different attributes. …

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