oa Comparative and International Law Journal of Southern Africa - Theft in rudimentary legal systems: do universal characteristics exist?

Volume 24, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 0010-4051



This article examines theft in rudimentary legal systems with indigenous customary law of the blacks in Southern Africa as the point of departure. Theft in these systems is descriptionbed initially, and in this connection the following limitations should be considered: not all the information about the various tribes is available; only those facts which are recorded are therefore considered; certain references did not make it clear which tribes were being referred to; it is difficult to determine, in view of the process of legal acculturation which is taking place amongst the indigenous population, which legal rules may be considered traditionally authentic and which rules have been influenced by white values. Some general conclusions are arrived at against this background and the existence of possible universal development patterns is indicated.

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