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Chibambo, Tchupa N. (1987) Marriage Laws of Malawi: The Evolution of African Marriage Laws Under Colonial Rule. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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This thesis examines the evolution of the law regulating African marriages and divorce in Malawi. It offers a review of the principal rules of customary law governing marriage and describes the introduction of relevant legislative provisions by the colonial administration, including the provisions for the registration of customary marriages enacted by African authorities. Special attention is given to the position of African Christians and to the policies and attitudes of Christian missions as determinants of colonial legislative policy. The analyses focus on the interaction of African custom, Christianity and secular statutory regulation of marriage and divorce. They highlight the impact on, and implications for, African society of the endeavours of the missions to Christianise African marriage and family life and of the reluctant efforts of the colonial administration to extend the application of the marriage laws imported from the English legal system to the indigenous population. This also involves a review of African responses to relevant aspects of the colonial experience. Largely through the study of case material, the wider consequences on African traditional marriage law and practice of African participation in the social, political and economic possibilities of Western European culture are also detailed. Much of the effort here is devoted to the examination of the contribution of the courts to the development of customary law and its adaptation to the changing environment and modern conceptions of social justice.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2020 17:21

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