Tag: South Africa
Colonial and apartheid policies in South Africa have had lasting – and complex – impact on indigenous customary law, and with it, on indigent people’s access to land.
“Customary law” is a general term referring to the indigenous or local customs and traditions (i.e. laws) of peoples that live communally. Under colonial rule in South Africa, customary law was given a third class status beneath western-imported British common law and Roman-Dutch civil law. Colonial rulers superficially recognized native customs, but simultaneously supplanted them with western legal concepts such as the ownership of property by a single homestead through a deed or other written entitlement. As a general rule, the colonial government acknowledged indigenous leadership structures only to the extent that it benefitted its system of indirect rule. Hence, the government drew (often with little cultural understanding) firm ethnic and geographic boundaries around tribes, instating chiefs they knew to be subservient to colonial control, and declaring that tribe members could obtain land or other resources only through these tribes and chiefs. Apartheid deepened these distortions of traditional leadership and custom, locking native people within the physical and cultural bounds of tribes and chiefs whose power had been enhanced by colonial impact.
Following the … Read More »
September 10, 2012 – Phil Underwood
LIDS’ very own Co-VP of Projects, Megumi Tsutsui spent her summer in Cape Town, South Africa, where she worked at the Legal Resources Centre (LRC). In her work as a Chayes fellow, she compiled a research report involving the small-scale mining sector in South Africa. Please read her blog post here for more information on her experience and her work.
Also, please check this blog in the near future for more LIDS members’ experiences working in international development as part of their summer activities.