Reflecting on the root causes of South Sudan secession: what can other African leaders learn?


  • Clayton Hazvinei Vhumbunu University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa



South Sudan, Sudan, Secesssion, Conflict, Conflict resolution, Conflict management, Suid-Soedan, Soedan, Sessessie, Konflikbeslegting, Konflikbestuur


The secession of South Sudan from Sudan in 2011 remains a significant development on Africa’s political landscape. It will continue to shape and influence the direction of secessionist conflict management and resolution dynamics on the continent. This is not because it was the first secession case in Africa given the fact that, previously, Eritrea had seceded from Ethiopia in 1993. Rather, unlike the Eritrea-Ethiopian case, the South Sudan secession case has a unique and edifying pre- and post- colonial historical narrative whose instructive value to post-colonial governments and governance processes in Africa remains remotely studied and utilized. Despite numerous research on pre-secession Sudan, there has been limited constructively aligned research that unravels the root causes of South Sudan secession, and sift lessons that can be progressively applied to either avoid and prevent secession in Africa, or constructively manage secessionist pressures in a way that retains peace, stability and national development. Using secondary data analysis, this paper explores the root causes of South Sudan secession with a view to discern and deduce adaptable and appropriate lessons that can be learnt by African governments at a time when secessionist conflicts are on the rise.


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