This Discussion Paper provides a thought-provoking and radical intervention into the ongoing debates on democratic governance and accountability in Africa. The author undertakes a critical overview of the discourse on democratisation in Africa and notes that democracy on the continent cannot be fully understood on the basis of the ways in which electoral pluralism has played out in the last 20 years. The paper critiques mainstream explanations and points out their shortcomings. It goes on to make a compelling case for an alternative framework based on historically informed dialectical analysis of everyday democracy and struggles for democracy in Africa. Noting that no two democracies are exactly the same, the paper advocates the need for democracy in Africa to be studied on its own terms, and in a way that facilitates taking the African experience into the global arena to produce a truly comparative theory of democratisation on a world scale. The paper is essential reading for all those interested in the history, present and future of democracy in Africa.