Southern Africa is the most advanced region in Africa in economic terms, and the most developed democratically, in its recent past, the present, and in its potentialities too. It is on these intertwined economic and political factors, and on both their positive and negative aspects that this article concentrates. Southern Africa is a definable region, 1 where there are nonetheless huge differentials of power and potentialities between, say, a South Africa, Angola and Zimbabwe, on the one hand, and Malawi, Lesotho and Swaziland, on the other. Consideration of the barriers to democratization, furthermore, embraces of course the big problems of Africa, and the author stands with African luminaries like Wole Soyinka, Chinua Achebe and Ngugi wa Thiong’o who believe that the key problem for Africa is the failure of its leaders. Soyinka’s Old Toad Kings are power-hungry, incompetent and unscrupulous, and their approximations, even in a few cases replicas, are found today in southern Africa. I begin therefore with the barriers to democratization.