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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Gendering Commonality: African Men and the 1883 Commission on Native Law and Custom
Author:Erlank, Natasha
Year:2003
Periodical:Journal of Southern African Studies
Volume:29
Issue:4
Period:December
Pages:937-953
Language:English
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:images
gender relations
Fingo
Nguni
Xhosa
colonialism
customary law
sexuality
History and Exploration
Law, Human Rights and Violence
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Politics and Government
Women's Issues
Historical/Biographical
Cultural Roles
Law, Legal Issues, and Human Rights
Sex Roles
Marital Relations and Nuptiality
Link:https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/0305707032000135905
Abstract:Towards the end of the 19th century racial and embryonic national categories were created and contested in South Africa in a public discourse that was ostensibly more to do with the differences that existed in the sex and gender codes of Africans and Europeans. This occurred especially within the hearings surrounding the 1883 Commission on Native Law and Custom instituted by the Cape colonial government. This commission was meant to examine the attitudes of Fingo, Xhosa and Thembu men from the Eastern Cape in positions of authority, towards a range of African practices and customs mostly to do with sexual norms and the nature of relations between the sexes. The commissioners tended to regard these customs as retrogressive, comparing them unfavourably with European gender norms. By contrast, African men maintained a staunch defence of customary practice. This led to dissent between the commissioners and the witnesses over the relative value of practices such as circumcision, initiation, female choice in marriage, 'lobola' (bridewealth), and polygamy. This paper discusses the changes in African attitudes towards sexuality and gender which the Commission reflected, the dissent expressed and the consequent implications for communities constructed around gender differences. Notes, ref., sum. [ASC Leiden abstract]
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