n Journal of African Foreign Affairs - A historical anatomy of Nigeria-South Africa relations since the end of Apartheid

Volume 2, Issue 1_2
  • ISSN : 2056-564X
  • E-ISSN: 2056-5658


Nigeria-South Africa relations date back to the era Nigeria's independence. At the Independence Day address, Nigeria made it clear that Africa is the centrepiece of her foreign policy and the elimination of apartheid in south Africa, her greatest challenge. The then South African government saw that as an affront and regarded Nigeria as a threat and enemy. Such frosty relationship continued till 1992 when President De-Klerk and his entourage stormed Nigeria to embrace each other. Consequently, bilateral relations that could benefit both countries based on their national interest, was initiated. The work reveals that the relations and diplomatic policies was however, threatened during the administrations of Nelson Mandela and Nigeria's dictator, General Sani Abacha but normal relations were restored during the Mbeki and Obasanjo regimes. However, the era of Zuma and Jonathan respectively has being filled with diplomatic challenges. Occasionally, their policies and relations are cordial and at some other times, frosty. This paper examines the relationship that exists between South Africa and Nigeria since the 1990s. It argues that mutual bilateral relations between the two countries could be factored to promote their national interests and thus recommends a more friendly relations that would eliminate frosty policies and strengthen their relationship as they gain more in friendship, being the two strongest economies in Africa.

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