International journal allocates entire volume to research by African scholars

An entire volume of the highly regarded internationally - and South African Department of Higher Education and Training-accredited - Taiwan Journal of Democracy has been dedicated to promoting the work of African scholars. Articles in Volume 13 (2017) of the journal were all penned by members of the Stellenbosch University-based Transformation Research Unit (TRU): Democracy Globally.

TRU, which is based in the Political Science Department in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, focuses on comparing South Africa with other democracies in the region and globally from a political, economic and social perspective.  

“This is major achievement, because not only are all the contributors African, they are also all members of TRU and all their contributions are focused on South Africa in the southern African context. It is not very often that a highly regarded, international journal dedicates its entire issue exclusively to this part of the world. There are many interesting analyses and new data-based hypotheses presented in the journal's pages, along with insights on the impact of history on today's South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Botswana. A worthwhile read, in short, that might interest many people," said Prof Ursula van Beek, the Head of the TRU.

The journal itself is “devoted to the study of democratic politics, in general, and democratic development in Taiwan and in other Asian democracies, in particular" and is published bi-annually. 

The collection of essays appearing in the journal represents the culmination of a two-year research project, which brought together academics from all four of the southern African countries. The articles explore a variety of topics, among them the commonalities shared by three of the examined governments that emerged from the former liberation movements, as opposed to the one in Botswana, which comes from a different historical path. 

“The essays also consider the consequences for socio-economic development of poor quality governance; map socio-political changes over time; discuss political culture; touch upon the impact of religion and culture; ponder the problem of xenophobia; and review the dominance by the executive of the public purse.  Jointly, the essays bring to the attention of the local and international reader the specific problems democracy faces on the southern tip of the African continent," explained Van Beek.

To view all the articles in the journal, visit:

PHOTO: A photo of the TRU Southern Africa group was taken in November 2015 when the first drafts of the articles were first discussed. Barring Dr Krige Siebert (SU Economics Department) the photo includes all the other contributors whose essays appeared in the journal. In front from the left are Dr Catherine Musuva (AU, contributor); Ms Terushka Naidoo (SU, former Honours student); Prof Henning Melber (The Nordic Africa Institute, Uppsala, Sweden, and contributor on Namibia); Ms Lovelyn Nwadeyi (Former SU PhD candidate); Prof Ursula van Beek (SU, contributor); Dr Cindy Steenekamp (SU, contributor); Dr Nicola de Jager (SU, contributor). In the back from the left are Mr Barend Lutz (Former SU PhD candidate); Prof Hennie Kotzé (SU, contributor); Mr George Ott (SU, contributor); Prof David Sebudubudu (University of Botswana, contributor); Prof Stan du Plessis (SU); Prof Lloyd Sachikonye (University of Zimbabwe, contributor); Ms Helen Kroes (SU MA student); Dr Marisa von Fintel (SU, contributor).   

Author: Lynne Rippenaar-Moses