Keeping a Sharp Eye: A Century of Cartoons on South Africa’s International Relations, 1910-2010

Otterley Press


R 120.00




For a century cartoonists have been commenting on South Africa’s international relations. Indeed, they were doing so long before the academic discipline of International Relations was born. Before think-tanks and international relations experts made their voices heard, a more subversive, and certainly more spicy, variety of understanding and criticism of international relations was at work. This was, of course, the ‘sharp eye’ on foreign policy and international relations, drawn in jest – and sometimes in anger – by cartoonists.

This book is about how these ‘other’ observers have looked at and commented on South Africa’s relations with the world for the past hundred years. It examines their interpretations of the unfolding events in international affairs, and also considers how these commentators and their work have interacted with the more formal understandings of foreign policy and international relations that came long after the cartoons appeared.

Read a review of the book at the Daily Maverick.

About the Author

Peter Vale is professor of Humanities at the University of Johannesburg and Nelson Mandela Chair of Politics Emeritus at Rhodes University, Grahamstown. He is a fellow of the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study, where he chairs the Academic Advisory Committee.

Vale has published extensively in a number of fields, including International Relations (and its theory), Politics, Social Theory and higher education in South Africa, especially in the Humanities. He is a recipient of the International Medal of the University of Utrecht and the Senior Research Award from Rhodes University.

Vale is an energetic contributor to the media and currently writes a monthly column for the Daily Dispatch and Business Day. He also writes a monthly diary column, “Black Arts”, on higher education for the national weekly, The Mail & Guardian.


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