n Journal for Contemporary History - In search of Africa's democratic theory : exploring liberty, equality and democratic construction in the cold war

Volume 35, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0258-2422
  • E-ISSN: 2415-0509



Since the early 1990s, the world has been caught in democratic fever and Africa has not escaped the spread of liberal democracy. Yet, Africa remains in a state of perpetual democratic unconsolidation and faces many difficulties in achieving the coveted state of democratic consolidation. Democratic assessment of African political systems is at times very pessimistic about its democratic future, but fails to consider Africa's process of democratic development in constructing its interpretation of liberty and equality. The international construction of the meaning of liberty and equality and its relationship to democracy is closely tied to the discourse and debates that prevailed during the Cold War period, when many African states received their independence. Using a discourse analysis one can trace the philosophical and ideological construction of democratic liberty and equality for Africa. This article highlights the debate between liberty and equality that characterised the Cold War period, and its impact on the philosophical construction of democracy in Africa.

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