This paper is therefore a discussion of the legislative environment under which civil society, in particular organized formations, operate in Africa. It is based on twelve African countries (Angola, DRC, Ethiopia, Liberia, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe). In all these countries we studied civil/state relations, existing NGO laws and NGO policies, including other laws that have an impact on NGOs, national constitutions, processes and the general political economy of the third sector. The merging findings point to some interesting conclusions. More studies are underway in Botswana, Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Namibia, Nigeria, Senegal, and Swaziland. The findings from these will be integrated into the current paper. This paper is therefore work in progress -- nevertheless the countries studied already are significant to begin a discourse on state/civil society relations, public spaces, and the general legislative environment for citizens and their formations. One of the emerging findings is that the political context determined the emergence of these legal instruments.