oa Comparative and International Law Journal of Southern Africa - The transition from the traditional to the modern legal system

Volume 21, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0010-4051



There is no doubt that Westernisation and industrialisation have brought about significant social, economic and political changes which have transformed the traditional socio-economic and political structure of especially African countries. This has necessitated the change of traditional or customary law. Otherwise the law would have lagged behind social change and consequently would have been irrelevant to the lives of the people it purported to govern. There has, however, been no uniformity in this. It is equally true that African countries of the post-independence era have frequently had recourse to legislation in order to facilitate economic development. This process of planned societal and economic development was aimed at modernising and transforming the societies and economies of many African countries as rapidly as possible so that blacks might enjoy "all the good things" which Western civilisation had produced in the two millennia of its history. In pursuing law reform in South Africa we may learn a lesson from these experiences.

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