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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Custom and common sense: the Zulu royal succession dispute of the 1940s
Author:Costa, AntonyISNI
Periodical:African Studies
Geographic terms:South Africa
Subjects:Zulu polity
traditional rulers
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
History and Exploration
External link:https://doi.org/10.1080/00020189708707858
Abstract:In the early 1940s two rivals vied for the kingship of the Zulus. The two contenders for the royal throne in Zululand, South Africa, were Tandayipi Absolom kaSolomon Zulu and his half-brother, Cyprian Bekezulu kaSolomon Zulu. Concerned by the possibility of civil war, the Native Affairs Department intervened. A Board of Enquiry was appointed to hear evidence and determine the legitimate successor in accordance with the Natal Code of Native Laws. 'Customary law' was to be ascertained and applied. In making its finding, however, the Board went against the codified rules of succession, following the time honoured, but unmentionable, dictates of political power. Codified customary law was not the straitjacket it is often held to be, as native administrators were able to fashion their own version of justice as they adjudicated, legislated and generally intervened in local communities in ways that were designed more to keep the peace than to accord with custom. Notes, ref.