In a landmark ruling the Botswana High Court has overturned a customary law rule that only allows men to inherit the family home.
According to the BBC, Judge Key Dingake found that the rule breached rights of equality, enshrined in the country’s constitution.
“Women’s equality is long overdue in Botswana. This landmark decision will determine whether Botswana is serious about ending discrimination against women or whether women will continue to have a secondary status under the law in Botswana,” stated Priti Patel, Deputy Director of the Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC), in a statement before the ruling.
According to the SALC, the case challenged an Ngwaketse customary law rule providing that the youngest born son inherits the family home. It concerned three sisters all over 65 years, who claimed they had lived in the family home and had spent their money on improving the homestead and therefore should inherit. The youngest born in the family is one of the sisters.
Their claim was challenged by a nephew who claimed his father was entitled to the house by being the youngest born son.