Mandela’s declaration on the eve of the 1994 elections that ‘human rights will be the light that guides our foreign policy’ set the tone for the shape and conduct of South African diplomacy in the aftermath of apartheid. In 1994, there were great expectations that civil society would claim a special place for itself in helping to shape South Africa’s foreign policy, especially the promotion of human rights and democratic values and norms. Mandela’s towering personality and international stature meant that he dominated every major foreign-policy decision, overshadowing the Department of Foreign Affairs, the cabinet and parliament. Parliament’s primary role in foreign policymaking is to give the public an opportunity to express its views, and to act as a watchdog in the public interest. South Africa’s rich civil society includes a range of non-state actors concerned with influencing foreign policy, such as trade unions, civic organisations, human-rights groups and academic think-tanks.