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Widow's rights upheld in customary law dispute

Publish date: 04 November 2019
Issue Number: 848
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
Category: Litigation

Customary law, at its best, is said to ensure that orphans and widows are cared for. But this is not always the case. That, at least, has been the experience of an elderly widow in Eswatini, writes Carmel Rickard in her A Matter of Justice column on the Legalbrief site. Although she married into a royal household, when her husband died her circumstances became dire. She found her brother-in-law had his eye on her late husband's property and he would not even allow her to construct a new outside toilet for her homestead. Now, however, three judges of Eswatini's Supreme Court have granted her an interim interdict against her brother-in-law. Pending the resolution of their dispute by the traditional authorities, the brother-in-law must allow her to build the toilet and must return possession of a field she was given on her marriage. He must also re-fence the field after he had his staff to tear down the barbed wire fence that she was installing to protect herself.

Judgment

A Matter of Justice