Cultural Diversity, Belonging and the Law in Societies in Transition: The South African Case

Published: 13 September 2016

Event 11 October 2016 - Professor Thandabantu Nhlapo (Emeritus Professor of Private Law at the University of Cape Town.

Date: 11 October 2016

Time: 6pm

Location: Sir Charles Wilson Lecture Theatre

South Africa is a country that faces tensions at many levels which involve various contestations: between tradition and modernity; between rich and poor; educated and uneducated; urban and rural; even between radical and liberal interpretations of democracy. For now, fortunately, the locus for these contestations is the constitution, which prevents them from being played out in the streets. This might change if the rising wave of cultural activism and traditional expectations within the country do not find an outlet.

The lecture will examine the efforts of the courts and the legislature over the last 20 years to recognise customary law and traditional practices while attempting to apply a Bill of Rights based on international human rights norms. In the process, the lecture questions the efficacy of law in bonding different cultural traditions within a single polity in order to create a sense of nationhood, making the point that the task is not made easier by the manifest inequality between the cultures in question.

Professor Thandabantu Nhlapo Biography

First published: 13 September 2016