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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The minority and subordinate status of African women under customary law
Author:Robinson, Kim L.
Periodical:South African Journal on Human Rights
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:customary law
equal opportunity
women's rights
Law, Legal Issues, and Human Rights
Status of Women
External link:https://doi.org/10.1080/02587203.1995.11827576
Abstract:The equality clause of the interim Constitution of South Africa will be a battleground between women seeking to participate in society equally and traditional leaders arguing that application of the clause to customary law will undermine African culture. This article situates this battle in an analysis of the constitutionality of s 11(3)(b) of the Black Administration Act 38 of 1927 and s 27(3) of the KwaZulu Act on the Code of Zulu Law and the Natal Code of Zulu Law. Section 11(3)(b) provides that African women married under customary law are minors. Under s 27(3), African women are subject to the marital authority of their husbands. The constitutional and social implications of s 11(3)(b) and s 27(3) are examined and it is concluded that these pieces of legislation require urgent intervention by the Government of National Unity. Both sections should be repealed because they are unconstitutional, and incompatible with the development of a postapartheid democratic society based on freedom and equality, have severe economic and social consequences for African women, and impede African women's participation in the Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP). Notes, ref.