Customary law

Widow's rights upheld in customary law dispute

Customary law, at its best, is said to ensure that orphans and widows are cared for. But this is not always the case. That, at least, has been the experience of an elderly widow in Eswatini. Though she married into a royal household, when her husband died her circumstances became dire. She found her brother-in-law had his eye on her late husband’s property and he would not even allow her to construct a new outside toilet for her homestead. Now, however, three judges of Eswatini’s supreme court have granted her an interim interdict against her brother-in-law.

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Ethel Dlamini’s dispute with her brother-in-law, like many court cases, not only resolves a particular legal dispute, but also throws light on the real-life experience of people you might not otherwise come across.

Recognition of customary Marriages Amendment Bill, 2019

The South African government is amending the law concerning customary marriages to bring it in line with constitutional jurisprudence. On 24 July 2019, Cabinet approved the submission of the Recognition of Customary Marriages Amendment Bill of 2019 to Parliament.  The Bill is currently under consideration by the National Assembly. Fasken candidate attorney Mr. Selby Mathebula writes about these changes.

On 24 July 2019, Cabinet approved the submission of the Recognition of Customary Marriages Amendment Bill of 2019 to Parliament.  The Bill is currently under consideration by the National Assembly.

Uganda’s courts ‘too westernized to handle cultural, customary issues’ – high court judge

Prominent Ugandan high court judge Ssekaana Musa has told litigants in dispute over traditional leadership that they should ‘always’ refer such quarrels ‘to the King or traditional or cultural leaders’. Judge Musa was considering two disputes about traditional leadership positions. He said that courts should discourage ‘petty issues’ like who was the rightful heir, family head or chief prince, from being ‘dragged to court’. These matters would be better dealt with by the established mechanism of a particular community, he said.

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Judge Ssekaana Musa heard two related applications involving the Kabaka (King) of Buganda and dismissed them both earlier this month.

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