"Democratisation in Africa: The role of self-enforcing constitutional rules’ discusses the long-run implications for civil conflict in Africa of this partial widening and deepening of democracy. Drawing on economic ideas about contracts and institutions, it outlines a conceptual framework for thinking about the role of constitutional rules and applies this framework to identify a critical requirement for sustainable democratic systems that avoid violent civil conflict. ‘We cannot reconcile until the past has been acknowledged’: Perspectives on Gukurahundi from Matabeleland, Zimbabwe’ explores the attempts by the government and civil society representatives in the region to facilitate reconciliation and seeks to determine their ability to establish durable peace at the community level. Drawing from fieldwork undertaken in Matabeleland in April 2014, this article describes what the community identifies as central requirements for reconciliation to occur, as against what is provided by the national framework for reconciliation implemented by the government. ‘Transitional justice and peacebuilding in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’ endorses as a judicial mechanism, in addition to the International Criminal Court (ICC), the establishment of a hybrid international tribunal to hold accountable those who bear the greatest responsibility for events since 1996. This paper also endorses the promotion of the non-judicial indigenous mechanism Barza intercommunautaire to help resolve low-level disputes and pave the way for a new TRC that could promote reconciliation, formulate recommendations on institutional reform, identify criteria for the lustration and vetting process, identify victims and recommend reparations. ‘Informal peacebuilding initiatives in Africa: Removing the table’ interrogates the practicability and efficacy of arts-based methods for peacebuilding as opposed to the formal negotiating table within African grassroots communities. It problematises the application of western liberal peace models at grassroots level. The article reviews and locates itself within the broader discourse of alternative or informal peacebuilding. Using the case study of Rwandan post-genocide dramatic reconstructions, the article illustrates specific participatory theatre techniques extracted from the applied theatre field and how these can be employed for peacebuilding at grassroots level. ‘Women, war and peace in Mozambique: The case of Manica Province’ shows that, while destroying society the war also catalysed the process of gender transformation, social fragmentation and civil society activism. It concludes that violent conflict is a moment of choice, in which individual and collective responses create opportunities and/or constraints. The journal concludes with a book review on ‘The new South Africa at twenty: Critical perspectives.’