Oliver Tambo’s International Policy: Unique Features of the South African Foreign Policy Process and Personality Factor

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Abstract


The aim of the work is to develop an understanding of the role of Oliver Tambo as the actual head of the foreign policy department of South Africa during the period of implementation of the policy of apartheid and the process of decolonization of the African continent. The author’s thesis is that the African National Congress (ANC) foreign policy during the period of South Africa’s activities as a state supporting racial segregation was of the nature of external representation. The development of foreign policy was identical to the formation of a new state. The uniqueness of the analyzed situation is expressed in the fact that for the first time in history, international relations were established not only by a party that does not politically agree with state ideology, but also does not show its loyalty to any political blocs. The theses presented by Oliver Tambo in the conditions of the Cold War were democratic, consistent with the principles of civil choice and were not identified as the need for armed confrontation. It is these aspects that enabled the transition of power to the radical majority to avoid prolonged civil wars or conflicts involving international armed groups. The basis of the methodology is the understanding of the international process during the liberation of Africa and the choice of allies for this process by representatives of the leading world powers. The author uses the historical method and the method of direct oppositions of the position of Oliver Tambo and a significant number of ideological proposals from the leading world powers of the time under investigation. The article shows that the activities of Oliver Tambo fully comply with the regulations and traditions in the performance of their functions by the foreign affairs ministries. The author argues that the leading role of the ANC and O. Tambo in particular is to ensure the preservation of stability in the socioeconomic development of South Africa with the transit of power in the 1990s and the preservation of the pace of development of South Africa in the 2000s. The work examines the period from the appointment of O. Tambo to the post of Secretary General of the ANC to his death. It is noted that, in addition to the revealed features of O. Tambo’s activities for South Africa for the general theory of international relations, the above facts showed how to build cooperation with non-institutional actors in world politics.


About the authors

Alexandra Alexandrovna Arkhangelskaya

Institute for African Studies, RAS ; Higher School of Economics

Author for correspondence.
Email: aarkhangelskaya@gmail.com
Moscow, Russian Federation

PhD in History, Researcher, Center of Southern African Studies, RAS, Leading Researcher, Higher School of Economics

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