South Africa has successfully negotiated a transition from authoritarian rule to democracy, this transition involving far-reaching structural change in its domestic order. South Africa’s foray into strengthening regional security, through direct intervention, the mediation of conflict and institution-building at the Southern African Development Community level, is strongly suggestive of the limitations upon its action. South Africa’s stated desire is to lead the continent in a revival through recourse to the economic programme embodied in the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) process and the restructuring of regional organisations such as the Organisation of African Unity along more democratic lines. The NEPAD initiative has yet to seriously engage civil society in the process, a significant oversight given that it is predisposed to support at least the governance dimensions of the programme. South Africa’s activist record in the broader international sphere also raises fundamental questions about the extent to which the global system is capable of being reformed under present circumstances.