Author:       Pfister, Roger,
Title:        "Apartheid South Africa's Foreign Relations with African States, 1961-1994"

Date:         2003; to be published in 2004
Institution:  Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa
Degree:       Ph.D.


This thesis examines South Africa's foreign relations, viewed from a South African perspective, with the black African countries beyond southern Africa - the countries north of Angola, Zambia and Mozambique - from 1961 to 1994. These relations were determined by the conflict between Pretoria's apartheid ideology on the one hand, and African continental rejection of South Africa's race discrimination policies and its exclusion from the community of African states on the other.

The prime motivation for this study lay in the fact that our topic has been relatively neglected in the secondary literature. To our knowledge, no source-based study on this particular aspect of South Africa's foreign policy has been produced to date. The large majority of publications reduce the focus of Pretoria's Africa policy on southern Africa, assuming that the Republic was cut off from significant contact with the countries further north. This study reveals the contrary.

The documentary material used primarily stems from the Department of Foreign Affairs archive in Pretoria, supplemented by research conducted in other archives (Department of Defence, National Archives, Archive for Contemporary Affairs (Univ. of the Free State, Bloemfontein)). Furthermore, we conducted interviews and correspondence, as well as consulted the relevant primary and secondary literature. Given the main source of information, we chose to make this work a case study in Diplomatic History. In consequence, and constituting the core of the study, Chapters 3 to 6 explore the interaction between South Africa and the black African states of interest in a chronological order, organised along the four Prime Ministers and State Presidents in power during the period under review. At the same time, we draw on the analytical concepts from the academic disciplines of Political Science and International Relations, to comprehend developments more fully. In particular, we emphasise that this study is about Pretoria's foreign policy, involving state and non-state actors, and we suggest that the unequal status between South Africa and the other African states constitutes an inherent factor in the relationship between them.

The Conclusion examines the role of the state and non-state actors in determining Pretoria's foreign relations and the relevance of the structural imbalance between South Africa and the black African states in this context.

The Abstract and Table of Contents can be downloaded from the following Website:

Return to the H-AFRICA Home Page.

First Online Edition: 3 May 2004
Last Revised: 3 May 2004

H-Net Humanities & Social Sciences OnLine
Send comments and questions to Kenneth Wilburn or Susan Tschabrun
Copyright © 1995-2013, H-Net, Humanities & Social Sciences OnLine
Click Here for an Internet Citation Guide

First Online Edition: 29 April 1995
Last Revised: 27 August 2014