From independence in 1962, Burundi has been wracked by divisions between the Tutsi ruling minority and the Hutu majority. In 1993, a civil war erupted during the course of which over 300 000 people have died and many thousands more have taken refuge in neighbouring countries. A small country occupying a strategic location in the unstable Great Lakes region of Africa, Burundi's own convulsions have been intimately entangled with deadly conflicts in the neighbouring countries of Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The authors outline the origins and nature of the conflict in Burundi, discuss the problems of establishing democracy in a region where ethnic conflict has occasioned genocide, trace the peace process in detail, and assess the prospects for the future. Their work seeks to illuminate the role played by South Africa since 1999 in Burundi's attempted transition to peace and democracy.
Roger Southall is a distinguished research fellow with the Democracy and Governance (D&G) Research Program of the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) and a member of the HSRC's research management team. Kristina Bentley is a senior research specialist in the Democracy and Governance Research Programme of the HSRC.
South Africa's role in the Burundi peace process - why does it matter?; international intervention in Burundi - background considerations; war and the decline of human security in Burundi; the roots of the crisis; democracy aborted - from coup to civil war; Arusha 1 - background to the Arusha Peace Accord; the Arusha II negotiations - from Nyerere to Mandela; Madiba magic? Nelson Mandela's role as mediator; South Africa's continuing role; Burundi's fragile transition - from Buyoya to Ndayizeye; Burundi's transition under Ndayizeya - from impasse to a fragile deal; the contradictory dynamics of democratisation and demilitarisation; Burundian civil society and South African linkages; sustaining the peace - lessons from South Africa?; concluding observations - Mandela, South Africa and Burundi; postcript - 'we cannot accept to die like hens' - Tutsi fears and regional peace.