An Intervenor's Role and Values: A Study of a Peace Committee Report in Grahamstown, South Africa




Midgley, J. R.

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School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution


“The extraordinary transition in South Africa has received well-deserved attention. Midgley tells a less well-known part of the story relating to the work by members of a collection of Peace Committees acting to manage and resolve community conflicts between the time of the September 1991 National Peace Accord and the 1994 elections to majority rule. He focuses on his experience with the Grahams town Peace Commission and a specific set of conflicts within the Rini Township between members of the community and between the community and the police. Midgley uses this story to explore a wide range of issues at the heart of conflict resolution practice, including mediators' roles and tensions between the roles of peacebuilder, activist, and peacemaker, ethical considerations, and the relationships among the Peace Committees and political actors. He provides an assessment of the work of the Peace Committees and both points to their significant accomplishments during a period of transition and their failure to transform themselves into an institutionalized part of the post-transition political order. Rob Midgley's insights will be valuable to everyone interested in the potential and the limits of building new structures of peace in a complex social and political environment. We thank him for his contribution.”