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Gender is another hurdle for S. Africa.

by M Hill
Sun (Baltimore, Md. : 1837) ()

Abstract

Gender equality remains an unacceptable concept to traditional tribal leaders in the new South Africa. Representative of this opposition to an equality for women provision in the new Constitution is Mwelo Nonkonyana, chief of the Amabhala clan of the Xhosa tribe in South Africa's Transkei region. Chief Nonkonyana has insisted, "Women are not inferior. It's just that they perform a special function." A ban on sex discrimination in South Africa would enable daughters to sue the eldest son for the right to assume power and pose many challenges to the institution of polygamy. Traditional leaders have proposed a separate parliamentary body composed of kings and chiefs to examine instances where proposed laws conflict with tribal practices, a step that could delay action on the gender equality plank for 5 years. They are being opposed by the African National Congress, which insists on the inclusion of human rights for all in the new Constitution. The Congress is committed to accommodating the tribal rulers, many of whom received financial support from the apartheid government, but is determined to avoid the existence of two parallel ruling structures in the new South Africa.

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