‘“It shall be the duty of every African to obey and comply promptly”: Negotiating State Authority in the Legal Arena, Rhodesia 1965-1980’

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Abstract / Description of output

The legal arena was an important site of struggle in colonial Africa. On the one hand it was used by the state to broadcast and assert its power. On the other, Africans employed it in their efforts to resist the state's intrusions in their lives. This article uses a number of legal disputes between Africans and the Rhodesian state to explore how state authority was negotiated in the legal arena in Rhodesia during the 1960s and 1970s. These legal encounters are read as moments of dialogue between Africans and the state about the exercise of state authority and the place of Africans within the Rhodesian polity. I argue that a combination of legal consciousness, tenacity and access to the necessary knowledge, as well as the problematic role of law as an element of statecraft in Rhodesia, enabled Africans to contest attempts by state officials to construct personalised forms of authority and assert alternative notions of citizenship.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)333-349
JournalJournal of Southern African Studies
Volume37
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jun 2011

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