Customary law

High Court in Zimbabwe orders woman be recommended for Mvuthu chieftainship vacancy

When their chiefly father died leaving only three daughters, the eldest of them, Silibaziso Mlotshwa, might have seemed the obvious choice to succeed to the Mvuthu chieftainship. But instead her uncle, Saunders Mlotshwa, got the nod from the government's district administrator. This followed a meeting of the Mlotshwa men at which they said a female chief ‘would be an insult’. Now, however, the high court in Bulawayo has ordered that the administrator propose the daughter’s name for the vacant position.

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After the death of Zimbabwe’s Chief Nyangayezizwe Mvuthu Mlotshwa, the meeting called to discuss his successor turned into something else: it became an opportunity for local men to express strong views against women in positions of traditional leadership.

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.

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