n Africa Insight - Lesotho's policy towards South Africa : policy or imperative? What has changed?

Volume 37, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0256-2804


Based on the realist school of thought, which stresses, among other things, that national interests predominate in international relations and are the key determinants of foreign policy decisions, this article analyses Lesotho policy towards South Africa since the former's independence in 1966 to date. The central argument of the article is that Lesotho has been unable to pursue an independent foreign policy towards South Africa because it is a small state; especially if such a policy is injurious to South Africa's national interests. The small state theory as applied to Lesotho has been a resilient and convincing explanatory tool in Lesotho-South Africa relations. The article argues further that nothing has changed in Lesotho's policy towards South Africa or the relations between these two countries. Whether it is the apartheid government in South Africa and the authoritarian Basotho National Party (BNP)/military governments in Lesotho, on the one hand, or the democratically elected African National Congress (ANC) in South Africa and the popularly elected Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) in Lesotho on the other, their relations and indeed Lesotho's policy have been determined largely by South Africa's national interests; there appears to be little or nothing Lesotho can do to change this.

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


Article metrics loading...


This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error