Elderly black women in South Africa win property and inheritance rights.

The African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights says that women should be treated the same as men, and that women should get proper housing whether they are married or regardless of how they were married. It says that women should have the same right to inherit property as men have. But this is different for black women in South Africa married prior to 1988, their husbands are entitled to all matrimonial assets and could sell them without consultation from the women.

In a groundbreaking court victory in Johannesburg yesterday, 72-year-old Agnes Sithole who has been deprived of her rights since her marriage dissolved won the case against her husband. It’s a big deal because the legal victory isn’t just a win for Agnes, the ruling will protect some 400,000 other black South African women going through the same sexist injustice.

“If you haven’t got property rights as a woman, you are more vulnerable to stay in an abusive marriage.

Aninka Claassens, Land rights expert at University of Cape Town

The victory isn’t just sudden, many South African women have been protested against the evictions and abuse of women in rural communities for over 40 years. Many civil rights groups believe the ruling will bring a difference in terms of women’s land and property inheritance, especially in communities where women are referred to as inferior.

Richard Ogundiya

Journalist & Techpreneur. Africa, communications and data.

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