n Africa Insight - Managing conflict in Africa : South Africa's conflict resolution initiatives in Burundi

Volume 44, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0256-2804


This article seeks to analyse and appraise South Africa's attempts at resolving the Burundi crisis that started after the 1993 coup d'état. It should be noted, however, that the end of the bipolar world interestingly ushered in a paradigm shift in the way in which African conflicts are resolved. There was hope that this paradigm shift would bring a new era of tolerant regimes paving the way for democracy and human rights to flourish on the continent. But alas, as the modern-day pluralistic political spheres were introduced, so too were their attendant drawbacks. Prominent amongst them were ethnic cleavages emerging with devastating consequences in Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo. This article contends that the African Union/South African intervention in the Burundi crisis should be seen as an attempt to seek African solutions to African developmental challenges. The Burundi intervention is yet to yield peace dividends, though. The question therefore is, is it a viable option to seek African solutions to internecine conflict on the continent? The article holds that an integrated mixed-method approach should be followed for any conflict resolution initiative on the continent, taking into account the peculiarities and specificities of every intervention.

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