This special issue of AJCR on Southern Africa – 50 years after Hammarskjöld revisits in the first part hitherto less known aspects of the Secretary-General’s commitment to find solutions to challenges often considered to be ‘missions impossible’ and recalls the history of the early 1960s in some Southern African dimensions in new perspectives.'Hammarskjöld’s visit to South Africa' focuses on what Dag Hammarskjold tried to achieve. 'Hammarskjöld and apartheid South Africa: Mission unaccomplished' discusses some aspects of the Secretary-General's brief stay in apartheid South Africa in January 1961. 'The Congo crisis, the United Nations, and Zimbabwean nationalism, 1960–1963' suggests that the intersection of Cold War politics and southern African racial politics helped to create a situation in southern Rhodesia in which white politicians felt threatened by the UN's intervention in the DRC. 'Dealing with injustice: Dag Hammarskjöld and the international community today' discusses the options at hand when confronted with crimes against humanity. 'Disarming war, arming peace: The Congo crisis, Dag Hammarskjöld’s legacy and the future role of MONUC in the Democratic Republic of the Congo' grapples with imminent peacekeeping, peacebuilding and post-conflict reconstruction challenges in the DRC. 'The effectiveness of regional peacemaking in Southern Africa – Problematising the United Nations-African Union-Southern African Development Community relationship' explores whether new regional partnerships can help facilitate the goal of achieving peace and stability in Southern Africa and whether the current principles of cooperation between the UN and regional organizations are sufficient for the task at hand. 'EU-UN partnership in military conflict management: Whither the African Union security infrastructure?' problematises the nascent relationship between the United Nations (UN) and the European Union (EU) in African conflict management.