oa Comparative and International Law Journal of Southern Africa - External law and social justice in an African context: an essay about normative imposition and survival in Swaziland

Volume 16, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0010-4051



Literature on the "colonial situation" in the Third World and elsewhere abounds with discussions of the imposition of law and its institutional and normative effects.It has been posited in the literature that the process of legal imposition common to the Third World was characterised by the following elements: (a) the cultural, commercial and military penetration of native territories, (b) the destabilisation of native societies and governments by encouraging factionalism and/or manipulation of existing factionalism, (c) the creation of surrogate native governments, the domination and weakening of traditional authorities through a system of treaties, courts and civil service, (d) and the resocialisation of the entire native population to the acceptance of the authority of these institutions as well as the authority of the colonial and native bureaucrats. This article seeks to examine the process of legal imposition in Swaziland and to determine the extent to which the Swazi experience conforms to the popular model of external imposition. This analysis attempts to show that though some of the common elements in the process of legal imposition were present in the Swaziland situation, it nonetheless presents a deviant example as shown in this article.

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