In the 1960s, social scientists speculated about what the consequence of legal, cultural, and racial pluralism would be in Africa after independence. Now, 50 years later, we know that, though transformed, cultural pluralism remains a shaping force. In Tanzania, from the 1960s on, there was an effort to build equality and national loyalty through socialism. In South Africa, after 1994, there were two major kinds of legislation that rejected the racially divisive past and attempted to repair its damage. One established the Truth and Reconciliation Commission; the other was a cluster of laws that designed a scheme of land reform. Both have been studied by anthropologists. Here, I review the Tanzanian and the two South African instances. The incompleteness and unevenness of what was achieved can be compared with the grand legislative intentions that preceded the law making. This has profound implications for the analysis of social process and for the relationships among the state, its ambitions, and its citizens.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


Literature Cited

  1. Comaroff J, Comaroff J. 2009. Reflections on the anthropology of law, governance and sovereignty. Rules of Law and Laws of Ruling F von Benda-Beckmann, K von Benda-Beckmann, J Eckert 31–59 Surrey, England: Ashgate [Google Scholar]
  2. Gellner E. 2005. Nations and Nationalism Malden, MA: Blackwell [Google Scholar]
  3. James D. 2007. Gaining Ground? ‘Rights’ and ‘Property’ in South African Land Reform Oxford/New York: Routledge-Cavendish [Google Scholar]
  4. Kuper L, Smith MG. 1969. Pluralism in Africa Berkeley/Los Angeles: Univ. Calif. Press [Google Scholar]
  5. Moore SF. 1973. Law and social change: the semi-autonomous social field as an appropriate subject of study. Law Soc. Rev. 7:4719–46 [Google Scholar]
  6. Moore SF. 1986. Social Facts and Fabrications: “Customary Law” on Kilimanjaro 1880–1980. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press [Google Scholar]
  7. Moore SF. 1996. Post-socialist micropolitics: Kilimanjaro 1993. Africa 6:4587–605 [Google Scholar]
  8. Moore SF. 2005. Part of the story: a memoir. Ethnos: J. Anthropol 70:4538–66 [Google Scholar]
  9. Nustad KG. 2011. Property, rights and community in a South African land-claim case. Anthropol. Today 27:120–24 [Google Scholar]
  10. Nyerere J. 1966. Freedom and Unity Dar es Salaam: Oxford Univ. Press [Google Scholar]
  11. Smith MG. 1965. The Plural Society in the British West Indies Berkeley: Univ. Calif. Press [Google Scholar]
  12. Smith MG. 1969. Some developments in the analytic frameworks of pluralism. See Kuper & Smith 1969 415–58
  13. Smith MG. 1974. Corporations and Society London: Duckworth [Google Scholar]
  14. TRC. 1998. Report, Vols. 1–5 Cape Town: Juta http://www.struth.org.za [Google Scholar]
  15. Wilson RA. 2001. The Politics of Truth and Reconciliation in South Africa: Legitimizing the Post-Apartheid State. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press [Google Scholar]
  • Article Type: Review Article
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error