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On-line version ISSN 2309-8392
Print version ISSN 0018-229X


VAN WYK, Jo-Ansie. No nukes in Africa: South Africa, the denuclearisation of Africa and the Pelindaba Treaty. Historia [online]. 2012, vol.57, n.2, pp.263-297. ISSN 2309-8392.

African efforts to denuclearise Africa originated in the 1960s in response to French nuclear tests in the Sahara Desert and to apartheid South Africa's nuclear weapons programme. The Organisation of African Unity joined the UN in the mid-1960s to denuclearise the continent. With international opposition to its apartheid policies, the South African government became increasingly isolated; a situation which worsened as confirmation of the country's nuclear capabilities revealed the extent of its nuclear weapons programme. By the end of the 1980s, the apartheid government under President F.W de Klerk decided to terminate the South African nuclear weapons programme as well as its apartheid policies; a decision which accelerated the denuclearisation of Africa. Once South Africa's commitment to nuclear non-proliferation became evident, the continent included it in negotiations on an African Nuclear Weapons Free Zone Treaty (Pelindaba Treaty). With the treaty's entry into force in July 2009 and South Africa's subsequent election to leadership positions in the treaty's compliance mechanism, South Africa's nuclear diplomacy with Africa entered a new phase which continues to pose challenges to the continent's commitment to nuclear non-proliferation.

Keywords : Africa; African Union; diplomacy; nuclear weapon free zone; Organisation of African Unity; South Africa; Pelindaba Treaty.

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