Jurisprudence in an African Context explores the unique contribution of African jurisprudence, and that of Western jurisprudence, to engage with the context and issues of contemporary Southern African societies. The text's unique pedagogy invites the reader to explore African perspectives of law through excerpts of primary texts, and supports understanding, engagement and debate through accessible and stimulating commentary. Organised thematically, the text engages with many urgent and important issues, related to law and justice, which concern African societies: these topics include land reform, the distribution of wealth and opportunity, who counts as a
member of a political community, the rights of gay people, the interests of traditional societies, and approaches to dealing with crime. The text provides a rich perspective of the proper role of law and justice in contemporary society, through the lens of African history, context and values.
- The text is of interest to, and accessible to, law students within South Africa and the sub-Saharan region. Its purpose is to make jurisprudence relevant to Southern African students, and to ensure that readers are able to identify with the history, values, and ethics which underpin the discussions.
- The text allows readers to engage in philosophically informed debates about contemporary dilemmas within the African context. It examines the unique contribution of African jurisprudence, in order to consider many of the important and urgent questions which are of concern for those living in Africa.
- The text engages readers in extracts of primary texts, which are supported by commentary. The authors' commentary guides the reader to understand the essential meaning of the primary sources, explains the relevance of the excerpts to a (South) African context, and highlights the relationships between excerpts. This pedagogical approach offers the reader greater depth of meaning and personal engagement in the learning experience.
1Chapter 1: Jurisprudence in an African context: An introduction
Part 1: Theories of Law
2What is law? I: Positivism and traditional African societies
3What Is law?
II: Naturalism and apartheid
4How should judges adjudicate in an African constitutional democracy?
5Is legal interpretation subjective?
Part 2: Theories of Justice
6What is a just distribution of resources?
7Who has duties flowing from justice?
8Whom do rights protect?
9How do we rectify past injustices?
10Why punish the guilty?
11Concluding remarks about key philosophical distinctions