Historical Outlook on French-South African Relations (1958-1974)

French Institute Seminars in Humanities (FISH)
18 August 2014

14:00 – IFAS Conference Room, 62 Juta Street, Braamfontein


Anna Konieczna
Researcher at Sciences Po Paris

Despite constant historiographical progress, historical research works on French foreign policy in Africa in the post-colonial period, focus almost exclusively on French interactions with the former Empire, and neglect the spaces in other parts of Africa. This presentation which is based on my doctoral thesis, aims to partly fill this gap by presenting a history of relations between France and the South African apartheid regime, under the presidency of French Presidents Charles de Gaulle and Georges Pompidou. Drawing on various French and South African archival sources, this presentation will show the motivations and the evolution of the unexpected rapprochement between what was until then two distant States, at the beginning of 1960s and, despite several crises, until 1974. This convergence of interests was fostered by two interlocking elements: the policy of independence followed by both governments and the political evolution of the African continent in the aftermath of the decolonisation. It resulted in close co-operation in the military and strategic fields. This presentation will also place the story back in the broader context of French African policy, both within and beyond the former French Empire, to show the complexity and limits of the French involvement in the internationally disapproved minority regime.


Anna Konieczna graduated from Warsaw University and obtained her PhD from Sciences Po Paris (2013) where she is currently teaching international relations and history. Her research works focus on French foreign policy in Africa after 1960.