Case 195 - Lessening Political Violence in South Africa: The CODESA Decision
Kempton, Daniel R.
In December 1991, after more than 300 years of conflict, representatives of all South Africa’s racial groups began negotiating a peaceful transition to a nonracial democracy. The Convention for a Democratic South Africa (CODESA) set out to develop basic principles for a non-racial political system, and an interim constitution that would govern South Africa until an election could be held for a constituent assembly empowered to write a permanent constitution. This case study introduces students to the diversity and complexity of political views in South Africa, and the effect these factors had on reaching an agreement to lessen the violence that plagued the country. It also sheds light on the challenges of international peacekeeping, asking whether the primary purpose of such interventions is to end political violence, or to resolve political conflicts that generate violence.