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Abstract

South Kivu Province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has experienced recurrent wars for more than 15 years. This article, based on the original report,1 explores the way local systems of governance and networking in South Kivu have been affected by the civil war and the ways in which local communities have tried to cope with chaos and the absence of the state. It also explores the role of various local organisations and groups in conflict and post-conflict governance. Governance does not completely disappear when the state collapses. Its structures remain hidden and in retreat, but ready to sprout into existence again. Multilayered, networked governance is a reality and is much less of a threat to viable states than might be imagined. However, when the state is incapable of assuring the security of its own population, it is difficult for social mechanisms and local institutions alone to substitute for the lack of a functioning state.