chapter  2
30 Pages

Legal Legacy of Colonialism

ByOnkemetse Tshosa

This chapter examines the status of international human rights law in Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe before independence. Although the three countries emerged from different colonial Administrations and circumstances, they have a common unifying factor. They all received the same legal system: the Roman-Dutch law. This law provides the basis and context within which the reception and place of international human rights law in the municipal law of these countries should be analysed. The chapter examines the process of colonial legal imposition, the actual reception of international human rights law, customary and conventional, in these countries, the extent to which the legal position was informed by classical monist and dualist theories. It determines whether international law was accorded a categorical place and role in municipal law of the countries under consideration. Most importantly, the colonial legal legacy weakened indigenous authority and radically altered the normative content of key legal areas of the local communities.