South Africa in Africa: The Post Apartheid Decade
The Stellenbosch seminar placed special emphasis on the interface between South Africa’s domestic political, economic and social contexts, and its foreign policy, especially its geo-strategic location in Africa. South Africa’s political transition had been a negotiated settlement with its inherent compromises that left the national question unresolved. The duality of the apartheid system continued, albeit in modified form. This duality, combined with the slow progress in deracialising the “commanding heights” of the economy, have diminished South Africa’s moral credibility in the eyes of many African critics. The xenophobic aspects of South Africa’s immigration policies, arising historically from the “Africa of labour reserves”, underscore both the country’s inadequate knowledge base on Africa and the lack of a large and influential domestic constituency in support of the government’s Africa policy. South Africa’s economic weight on the continent, especially in the light of persistent underdevelopment in many parts of Africa, was also the subject of much discussion, particularly in the context of the country’s current continental expansion in trade and investment, and the serious trade imbalances between South Africa and the rest of Africa.