oa Comparative and International Law Journal of Southern Africa - Customary law of succession in a rural and an urban area

Volume 25, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 0010-4051



The law of succession is not as simplistic as would appear from literature. Succession according to the literature, occurs where the eldest son in a monogamous family or the eldest son of the head wife in a polygamous family succeeds his father according to the principle of primogeniture.. The eldest son as successor takes the place of the deceased family head. He succeeds to all the property of the deceased which he must control in consultation with the widow. The eldest son must maintain the widow and dependants and is responsible for all debts incurred by the deceased family head. Women have no succession rights under customary law. These general principles were put to a panel of men and woman informants in the rural area. Certain general principles were confirmed while there were variations on others. These variations might prove important when future legislation on the customary law of succession is considered.

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