Analyzing Tchadian director Mahamet-Saleh Haroun’s 2013 film Grigris the article discusses the political potentials of contemporary Sub-Saharan Film. The article rejects frameworks of African and Francophone cinema and argues that a localized understanding of this film in Chad provides a better understanding of the universal and global reach of the engagement with politics that is one of the film’s prime objectives. It is through an understanding of the local and regional society and history that it becomes evident how the film engages with political issues with reach far beyond the borders of Chad. This engagement is performed through the screening of bodies, of race highlighting the role that these entities play in Chadian society and Chadian politics.
The regional powerhouse, South Africa, has since the introduction of the nonracial democratic dispensation in 1994, played a central and important role in the formation of both the regional and continental security architecture. With the establishment of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) in 1992, one of the central areas of collaboration for the community was envisioned to be security, understood within a broadened human security framework. Security was therefore from the outset one of the cornerstones of integration in the SADC. It was believed that the formation of a security community would help dismantle the enmities that had plagued regional relations during the apartheid era. For some parties, institutionalisation of relations pointed to a means of stabilising and disseminating a particular order. Such institutions depict the power relations prevailing at the time of their establishment, which, however, can change over time (Cox 1981:136). The integration ambition surrounding security correlated with the ambitions of South Africa, the new democratic government in the regional powerhouse. South Africa and its overall foreign policy ambitions desired the pursuit of peace, democracy and stability for economic growth and development in the region and within South Africa itself. Since South Africa’s acceptance into the SADC in 1994, the organisation has attempted to set up the required institutional framework to enable co-operation on security, both in terms of narrow military co-operation and regarding designated 2 softer security issues, such as migration and cross-border crime. The military cooperation moved forward in the early years after 1994 with the 1996 decision of creating an Organ for Politics, Defence and Security Co-operation (OPDSC)1 and later the signing of the Mutual Defence Pact (MDP) in 2003, and eventually the creation of the Strategic Indicative Plan for the Organ (SIPO) in 2004, which operationalised the OPDSC (SADC 2004). However, the actual military cooperation, e.g. military exercises, came close to a standstill. Several developments obstructed military co-operation of which the evolving crisis in Zimbabwe and the subsequent withdrawal of donor support to, for instance, the Regional Peacekeeping Training Centre (RPTC) in Harare are but two examples. The RPTC constituted the backbone of the co-operation, but political differences between member states illustrated during the Zimbabwean crisis and following the mandate of the interventions in especially the DR Congo and partly Lesotho in 1998 all contributed to regional tensions.2 Despite the crisis, SADC members, and in particular South Africa, declared that the organisation would be able to form a regional stand-by brigade for the use of the African Union (AU) as part of its wider security architecture. On 17 August 2007, the SADC declared its stand-by-force operational at a large parade in Lusaka, Zambia and at the same occasion signed a memorandum of understanding on the SADCBRIG (SADC 2007). According to the timeline provided by the AU, the brigade should be fully operational by June 2010. Former South African deputy foreign minister Aziz Pahad stated after the launch that this was an important step, but that now there was much to be done securing joint levels and types of training, interoperability, etc. (Pahad 2007). The question that continues to linger is to what extent this brigade is operational and for what purpose. Is this new regional military formation in its present form just a paper tiger, or is it “real progress” and an example of “successful” regional cooperation and integration? This article scrutinises the security co-operation and integration in SADC and asks whether an apparent lack of common values between SADC member states are blocking the security integration process, the creation of a security community, and thereby the establishment of an effective stand-by brigade, the so-called SADCBRIG. The article furthermore attempts to scrutinise the role played by South Africa in establishing the SADCBRIG.