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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The Reform of Customary Marriage Law in South Africa
Author:Bennett, T.W.
Periodical:Recht in Afrika = Law in Africa = Droit en Afrique
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:customary law
family law
marriage law
Law, Human Rights and Violence
Women's Issues
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Law, Legal Issues, and Human Rights
Cultural Roles
Marital Relations and Nuptiality
Abstract:Under South Africa's apartheid regime, the country's various systems of African customary law suffered a long period of neglect. When the Interim Constitution was promulgated in 1993, customary law received long overdue recognition. However, not only was the official version out of step with social practice but, when the Bill of Rights came into effect, it was also in conflict with the prohibition on gender discrimination. The South African Law Commission intervened to propose solutions and it started with a report on the reform of customary marriage, in which it recommended full recognition of all existing marriages (including polygynous unions), a set of minimum requirements for future marriages, equality of status for spouses and a requirement that all divorces be processed in family courts. Most of the recommendations were accepted by Parliament and enacted as the Recognition of Customary Marriages Act of 1998. This article provides a critical commentary on the legislative history of the Act and its provisions. The text of the Recognition of Customary Marriages Act is included (p. 97-103). Notes, ref., sum.