oa Comparative and International Law Journal of Southern Africa - The new legal anthropology: a critical review of Rules and Processes

Volume 17, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0010-4051



This study shows that the Tshidi and Kgatla societies investigated by the authors should probably be placed down fairly low on Fallers's scale of legalism. This is not to suggest that any invidious comparisons are being made between the Tswana groups studied by Comaroff and Roberts and groups which have been studied by other legal anthropologists - it is merely to say that on the basis of the evidence presented in Rules and Processes the Tswana seem to have less 'law' than is found in some other small-scale societies. The implications of this should be carefully considered by those who practice the Pretoria jural method of legal investigation. The Wiechers Commission's urgent call for an 'authentic work of reference', and its statement that 'the recording of indigenous law (in Bophuthatswana) is to be expedited', begins and ends with positivist and jural assumptions about the nature of Tswana law and custom.

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