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History | South African Government

Return to Book Page. Government and Politics in Africa by William Tordoff.

Praise for previous editions Tordoff's interpretations will be respected by scholars from diverse perspectives. Get A Copy. Paperback , Revised, Fourth Edition , pages. More Details Other Editions Friend Reviews.

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African politics

It is a very useful introduction for the study of the political systems in Africa but the problem is that it is over complicated and over detailed and sometimes you feel that you do not get what the writer wants to say. Feb 06, Tembo Chongo marked it as to-read. Dec 03, Inno Laka marked it as to-read. Abdelkrim Amrani rated it really liked it Feb 09, Heri Haruba rated it liked it Jul 17, Joshua rated it really liked it Jan 02, Jason rated it did not like it Mar 16, Kien Hilda rated it really liked it Jun 05, Moataz rated it really liked it Jun 12, Wayne Jordaan rated it really liked it Aug 18, Denise DeRocher rated it it was amazing Mar 13, Matthew Dalton rated it liked it Dec 26, Shahista Swellam rated it it was ok Jul 29, George Suh rated it did not like it Jun 06, Phakade Gumede rated it liked it Jan 02, Jared rated it liked it Dec 31, Nelson Njenga rated it it was amazing Mar 28, Holly rated it really liked it Mar 20, Staci rated it it was ok Sep 13, Dan Bell marked it as to-read Apr 28, Mykel added it Jul 19, Who would argue with the general idea that we should know more about the whole of which we are a part?

It is our nature to know things, to understand, to experience, to find things out about our environment. I said that this is an easy idea to defend. I have just done so in a few sentences. The problem is not its simplicity, or ease of explanation. The problem is that I suspect you have not been persuaded that you need to do anything about it.

To say that we must understand everything is as uninviting as it is bewildering. Obviously, it is an impossible approach to take. And we are very likely to deal with the request sometimes, because of the way in which schools are organized, the demand that we study this, by saying that we are presently already occupied studying that.

So I have another approach in mind, another project if you will. I would like you to consider three quite different reasons -- three reasons that I feel are particularly important for us both as students interested in political matters i.

African Politics & Government: Books

First, the study of African governments provides us with a chilling view of the consequences of lawless political authority. Many African governments today rule by force and extreme fear, to the extent that they do in fact rule at all. And without recourse to law to counter arbitrary violence, faced with a precipitous decline in economic opportunity and government services, people are forced to extreme measures of resistance -- civil war, ethnic cleansing and terrible suffering.


  • Government and Politics in Africa.
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Under these conditions of near chaos, local strong men, often little more than leaders of armed gangs, assume power and develop a following, a following of those who will accept "any port" in a murderous storm of insecurity, danger and uncertainty. It is not the wisest and the best that are most likely to emerge strengthened under such conditions of extreme disorder and danger.

Instead it is often the boldest and the cruelest, those most willing to spread fear and punish disobedience -- the bully, the ruthless and the immoral. Their rule, in turn, leads to renewed despair and hopelessness. Their authority rests with lieutenants who are quick to desert or betray.