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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Customary Family Law in Colonial Tanganyika: A Study of Change and Continuity
Author:Sippel, HaraldISNI
Periodical:The Comparative and International Law Journal of Southern Africa
Geographic terms:Tanzania
Great Britain
customary law
family law
Law, Legal Issues, and Human Rights
Cultural Roles
Family Life
Abstract:In 1907 the German government commissioned a study on so-called native law that was intended to compile, by means of a detailed questionnaire, various customary rules and practices as they existed in the German colonies. Until 1913 most of the material for this study was collected in former German East Africa (Tanganyika, present-day Tanzania). The British, who administered Tanganyika on behalf of the League of Nations following the German defeat in World War I, made a similar effort to research African family and succession laws in 1961, also by using a questionnaire. A comparison of the two research projects shows that not many customary laws are covered equally by both projects. An exception is the laws of the Pare and the Bena, and it is possible to identify changes and continuities in certain aspects of Bena and Pare family law over a fifty-year period, such as rules governing age of engagement, amount of bridewealth, polygamy and matrimonial residence, and the property of the common household. Often, however, certain developments were noted without further explanation. Moreover, given the different perceptions of African customary law held in the case of both research projects by the persons who drafted the questionnaires, the persons who reported on them, and the African informants, one may wonder whether the inquiries are accurately formulated and whether the answers are correct. Notes, ref.