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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Researching the Indigenous Law of Marriage in South Africa: An Anthropological Perspective
Author:Rascher, S.B.
Periodical:South African Journal of Ethnology
Geographic term:South Africa
customary law
family law
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Law, Human Rights and Violence
Anthropology and Archaeology
Women's Issues
Marital Relations and Nuptiality
Law, Legal Issues, and Human Rights
Cultural Roles
Abstract:The Bill of Rights contained in South Africa's Constitution of 1996 highlights the potential conflict between the constitutional position of spouses and the current sociocultural beliefs and practices of a substantial portion of South Africans with an African cultural heritage. A thorough knowledge of these sociocultural beliefs and practices is therefore necessary for the administration of justice. Anthropologists researching indigenous law can contribute in this regard by complementing a strict legalistic approach with emphasis on 'legal rule' and the role of the courts with a broader-based 'grassroots approach'. The application of such an approach revolves around two fundamental issues. Firstly, it must be established exactly where the relevant beliefs, practices and legal needs are located in society and whether there are discrepancies between the law of marriage at the family level and at the national level. Secondly, when there is an internal conflict of laws, the focal points in the disputing process must be clearly distinguished. Bibliogr., sum. in Afrikaans and English.