Overcoming the apartheid system in South Africa, independence in Namibia, and democratic elections in most states of the region have resulted in a political renewal that has brought freedom to many people who have struggled for decades: whether in armed liberation movements or as members of civil-society organisations active in various ways to promote democracy and human rights. However, despite this progress, the region faces enormous and challenging problems which might endanger consolidation of the still unstable democracies.
The Heinrich Böll Foundation has been actively promoting the consolidation of democracy in Southern Africa since 1989. For many organisations and individuals the Foundation has become a partner for civic education and formation of networks, provider of international contacts, observer and analyst in the region.
In 2007 the Foundation moved its regional office for Southern Africa from Johannesburg to Cape Town to be able to focus the Foundation’s work more on the interface between civil society and parliament. The Foundation aims to provide spaces for constructive dialogue and exchange between non-governmental organizations and democratic institutions. In doing so the Foundation seeks to improve civil society participation in decision making processes and make a valuable contribution to the acceptance of democracy.