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Community education where it counts!

Women and the Law @Dobsonville 2017/09/30

Last Saturday I had the opportunity to present at a community gathering in Soweto, organised by WATLA. The organisation empowers women - especially women from townships - to become active participants in our democracy in matters of law.

An unfortunate aspect of our codified legislation is that it is not presented in plain language, making it inaccessible to the public. Herein lies the opportunity: to empower communities, and to build awareness of mediation at a grassroots level.

In step with the Heritage Day celebrations (that were still very much happening around us!) we enjoyed a vivid discussion on traditional marriages and the practical implications from a legal perspective. Just one example here is the importance of registering the marriage with the Dept of Home Affairs, as access to the protection offered by marriage is not viable without it.

Another clear need is that of applying the social rules within which spouses conduct their marital relationship, rather than a set of laws by a third party legislator which does not accurately reflect the values of a particular community. Here mediation plays a vital role in providing access to justice.

Thanks to Rita Tladi, Martha Chauke and the team at WATLA for the generous reception and warm hospitality!

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