Under former President Mbeki, South Africa provoked international dismay and criticism when it tried to block United Nations censure of Burma, Sudan, and Zimbabwe for gross human rights abuses. In the case of Sudan, Pretoria stood accused of turning a blind eye to Khartoum's excessive and indiscriminate violence in Darfur, betraying South Africa's own struggle for democracy and commitment to promoting human rights. This article seeks to shed light on Pretoria's foreign policy by explaining its position on Darfur and exploring the relationship between ideas and interests in shaping the policy. I argue that the position on Darfur was not unfathomable or realist, as some observers claimed, but was based on the core ideas of South Africa's foreign policy: the African Renaissance; quiet diplomacy as the most effective means of dealing with pariah regimes; solidarity with African governments under pressure from the West; and an anti-imperialist paradigm that provided the lens through which the government viewed the global order, defined the country's interests, and conceptualized human rights. Whereas most studies of Pretoria's foreign conduct pay little heed to the policies of the ruling party, I show that the conduct flowed logically from the party's anti-imperialist ideology.