This panel aims to discuss contemporary southern Africa taking as a starting point the alliances shaped throughout the nationalist/revolutionary challenges. It will be a moment of reflexion about fights and alliances that have seen the light of day over the 20th century, broadening the analysis beyond Cold War narratives about confrontations between western and communist worlds, thus widening the complexity of regional politics.
The recent emergence of BRICS brought a new light to the idea of a 'multipolar world'. This concept has been replacing the perspective, upheld until the fall of the Berlin Wall, that the world would be organized in a dual dynamic of power blocks defined by their antagonistic relations. The history of the last 50 years of the southern African cone, seen from this perspective, would suggest a power position between two systems - the western capitalist (1st world) and the socialist (2nd world). The 3rd world is reduced to the stage where the two systems have met during the Cold War. But can history be read differently? To explore the violent encounter between colonial projects and the nationalist/revolutionary movements opens up the 'Pandora's box', revealing complex political alignments. Seen in detail, the historical moments which resulted in the political changes occurred between 1960 and 2000 in Southern Africa force us to deeper readings of the regional alliances, beyond readings defined from interpretations of the Global North. Raising a debate about alliances forged in the revolutionary and nationalist game, this panel seeks to question the limitations of the Global North perspectives. Simultaneously, it intends to produce a critical reflexion that will allow the interpretation of plural experiences and alignments from the second half of the 20th century, widening the analysis well beyond a narrative of bipolar confrontation. The challenge of this panel is to contribute with perspectives and reflexions bearers of other paths of multiple and plural belonging.