Southern Africa has experienced highs and lows in its efforts towards democratisation. Following political independence of Southern Africa states, the germination of democratisation was a rather slow process. A brief period of multi-party democracy introduced through pre-independence elections quickly dissipated and was replaced by one-party, one-person and, in some instances, military regimes. This era also coincided with the height of the Cold War globally and the heyday of apartheid in which inter-state conflicts had intensified. Since the late 1980s and early 1990s, a new dispensation has emerged wherein multi-party democracy has re-emerged in the context of the post-Cold War and post-apartheid dispensation, marked by relative peace dividend. However, democratisation in Southern Africa remains a mixed bag today. Some countries have not yet experienced the democratic transition. Others have managed to transition from one-party, one-person and military regimes to multi-party democracies. In various others, there are signs of reversal of democratic gains. This paper reviews the state of democratisation in Southern Africa with a view to understand why the regional record is so uneven across countries that form the Southern African Development Community (SADC). While the article presents a regional snapshot, it also presents comparative insights from Botswana and Lesotho.
The question of how Europe ruled Africa relates to the crucial issues of settlernative identity as constructions of colonialism as well as political consciousness formation and development among the colonized as well as the colonizers. Because colonialism operated ambiguously throughout its life to the extent of hiding its adverse contours of epistemological and mental invasion that have come to haunt during the post-colonial era, it deserve to be subjected to systematic theorization and historicization. This article deploys various conceptual tools culled from post-colonial theories to delve deeper into the dialectics and ontology of colonial governance in Zimbabwe and it simultaneously historicize the phenomenon of colonial governance on the basis of how white Rhodesians inscribed themselves in Matabeleland in the early twentieth century. It also systematically interrogates the development of Ndebele political consciousness under the alienating influences of settler colonialism up to the mid-twentieth century. The article contributes to the broader debates on colonial encounters and colonial governance that have left an indelible mark on ex-colonies across the world. Colonialism was not just a footnote in African history. It had long term pervasive impact of altering everyone and everything that it found in Africa.