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Custom-based or gender-based approach? Considering the impact of the National Movement of Rural Women as amicus curiae in litigation involving rural women

Author: Keneilwe Radebe

In: Agenda, Vol 33, No 2, 2019, pp. 42-51

The National Movement of Rural Women (NMRW), formerly known as the Rural Women’s Movement, was established in 1990 with a focus on, among others, uniting rural women and giving them a voice. Amongst the organisation’s aims was to create forums for rural women to unite against oppression, have equal rights to land and a say in political matters. The organisation has contributed as amicus curiae – ‘a friend of the court’ – to dealing with customary law cases involving inheritance, marriage and chieftaincy disputes. This article explores the two approaches used by the NMRW as friend of the court - the custom-based and gender-based approach - and concludes that these two approaches are in direct conflict with each other.