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  • South Africa's FutureSouth Africa's Future

The extraordinary events that have transformed world politics over the past year have tended to overshadow the truly remarkable changes under way in South Africa, where the edifice of apartheid is visibly crumbling and a negotiation process has begun with the goal of achieving a transition to genuine democracy. The task of democratization in South Africa is especially complex owing to its unique history of racial oppression and the enormous diversity of its society.

Since the launching of the Journal of Democracy, we have been wrestling with the question of how best to approach the issue of South Africa. We wanted our readers to have access to a wide range of voices expressing the diverse viewpoints of the key domestic political forces. At the same time, we wished to provide the background and context required to grasp the complexity of the current situation. Thus we asked Pauline Baker, a noted expert on South Africa, to write an essay that would provide a broad overview of the transition process. Then, in consultation with Dr. Baker, we asked the leaders of nine major political groupings in South Africa to write brief essays responding to two broad questions about South Africa's future.

Invitations to participate in this symposium were sent to representatives of the three major white political parties: the governing National Party, the Conservative Party, and the Democratic Party; to the chairman of the country's largest corporation, the Anglo American Corporation; to the leaders of the three most significant black political forces: the African National Congress (ANC), the Pan Africanist Congress, and Inkatha; and to representatives of COSATU, the largest black trade union federation, and SAYCO, the leading black youth organization. The last two groups did not provide a response. Neither did the ANC, but fortunately its deputy president Nelson Mandela had spoken to these questions during his June visit to the United States. Thus we have included excerpts from Mr. Mandela's statements along with the six essays written specifically for the Journal of Democracy.

Finally, we have devoted our "Documents on Democracy" section (which begins on page 128) to three crucial documents relating to political developments in South Africa: the ANC's Freedom Charter, the resolution of the UN Special Session on South Africa, and the Pretoria Minute containing the August 1990 agreement between the South African government and the ANC.

-The Editors [End Page 7]



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