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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Land, gender and inheritance disputes among the Basotho in the Dewure Purchase Areas, colonial Zimbabwe
Author:Mujere, JosephISNI
Periodical:South African Historical Journal (ISSN 1726-1686)
Geographic term:Zimbabwe
customary law
law of inheritance
colonial period
External link:https://doi.org/10.1080/02582473.2014.959988
Abstract:This article explores Basotho struggles for land and belonging in colonial Zimbabwe from the 1930s to the 1950s. It argues that as non-indigenous Africans in colonial Zimbabwe with no claim to land in reserves the Basotho saw ownership of freehold land as a key strategy in their construction of a sense of belonging. The centrality of land among the Basotho had a great impact on inheritance disputes within the members of the community. Drawing on archival files and court cases dealing with inheritance (including disputes involving land) in the Basotho community, the article argues that, through seeking further legal recourse in colonial courts, individual members of the community were able to challenge accepted customary laws and contest gender inequalities as well as to negotiate space within the community and the colonial state at large. This impacted on other inheritance disputes involving land as some of the Basotho inheritance cases set legal precedencies - thus illuminating the complex struggles among Purchase Areas farmers. The article feeds into the growing literature on land and inheritance during the colonial period. It also uses court cases as a prism through which women's struggles against patriarchy and the colonial state can be unravelled. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]