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NCJ Number: 200860 Find in a Library
Title: Dispensation of Justice in the Tribal Areas of Colonial Botswana
Journal: Crime and Justice International  Volume:19  Issue:73  Dated:May 2003  Pages:5-10
Author(s): Christian John Makgala
Date Published: May 2003
Page Count: 6
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article forcuses on the administration of justice in the tribal areas of Colonial Botswana, Southern Africa.
Abstract: Local Tswana rulers were able to have dialogue with the British at the time of colonization, often protecting their interests, because the conquest of Botswana was negotiated not imposed. However, the judicial sphere was one area in which the local rulers tended to clash with British interests. In the tribal areas ruled by Africans, the Tswana law and custom prevailed, while the European judicial law governed in the European communities. As a result, five Tswana speaking tribes have consistently experienced difficult relations as a result of post-colonial politics. After discussing pre-colonial Tswana, the article describes the minimal intervention imposed by the British after colonizing Botswana, and the need to reform tribal government and tribal courts in Tswana, after the 1920’s. A series of Tswana court cases involving domestic and personal status, property, contracts, delicts, and penal offenses from the 1930’s to 1940 are presented. Some cases involving members of tribal royalty were often by-passed in favor of being tried in European courts. Even after the 1943 reforms of tribal courts, many tribal elites avoided these local “kangaroo” courts. A resurgence in national pride has rendered Botswana’s tribal courts more popular to locals since the 1990’s and tribal courts now handle more than 80 percent of criminal and civil cases. Table, references
Main Term(s): Africa; South Africa
Index Term(s): Court reform; Tribal community relations; Tribal court system; Tribal history
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