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By Kevin C. Dunn, Timothy M. Shaw (eds.)

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The Ovimbundu it represented believed that, as the major ethnic group in Angola, it was critical that they had their own `liberation movement' 18 Reformulating IR Theory to counter-balance the role and power of the movements representing the other two major ethnic groups. History has shown that the political project of these movements was not national but sub-national. In other words, beyond the rhetoric, they were primarily concerned with the aspirations of particular ethnic groups ± Kikongo, Kimbundu, Ovimbundu ± not the Angolan state.

As Potholm notes, in pre-colonial Africa, `monarchy, democracy, dictatorship, theocracy ± coexisted within a relatively small geographical area and often under similar socioeconomic conditions' (1976: 4). However, unlike the Westphalian model that would later dominate international relations, Africa's pre-colonial political systems were not only much more diverse, they were mostly centered around pluralistic nations, not homogenous states. In most pre-colonial African political systems, `there was a cultural nation, a linguistic nation, but not a political one in the sense of having a strong central political authority or, in many cases, even a central authority at all' (Potholm 1976: 12).

It is incomplete because it leaves out significant global processes (including economic ones) which historically determined various regimes of sovereignty (encompassing such extra-territorial structures as colonialism) that Europe imposed upon other regions of the world (Walker 1993). It is tendentious because it dispenses with the context of African claims to sovereignty and postcolonial autonomy: (a) the material structures of political power and subordination within the post-colonial international order, and (b) the historical exclusion of Africa from the politically significant relationships of the global order (see Clapham 1996).

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