Musings of Chief Justice Chivenge

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Previously, marriage was defined as a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife. With the recognition of same sex marriages and the promulgation of the Civil Unions Act, marriage is now defined as a legal union between two spouses. The Marriages Act is obviously two decades behind because heteronormative terms have no place in legislation in a society which promotes and recognizes equality There is constant debate on whether marriage…
We acknowledge the sensitive and emotional nature of the abortion controversy, of the vigorous opposing views, even among physicians, and of the deep and seemingly absolute convictions that the subject inspires.” — Justice Blackmun In 1969, 21-year-old Norma McCorvey became pregnant with an unplanned third child. She attempted to get an abortion in Dallas due to a mistaken belief that Texas law permitted abortion in cases of rape and incest when in fact, the law…
An engagement is a verbal pactum de contrahendo (a contact to contact or a contingent contract) and there are no legal requirements for a marriage proposal to constitute a valid engagement.  When a couple gets engaged, the parties enter into a contract to enter into a marriage contract and to prepare for that marriage and the fanfare preceding it. A contract is a legal undertaking to perform certain obligations.  It gives rise to duties and…
“Candidate Attorney wanted:  Must be in possession of a valid driver’s license and must have own vehicle. Must be fluent in Afrikaans. Salary R5 500 non-negotiable.” Structural racism is a complex, dynamic system of conferring social benefits on some groups and imposing burdens on others, resulting in segregation, poverty, and denial of opportunity for millions of black people.  South Africa’s history of apartheid, structural racism and racial segregation negatively impacted black South Africans’ access to education…
The are some commonly used legal symbols. The gavel is used for finality and to sound that justice has indeed been served and that the matter has been finalised. The balanced scales of justice symbolise the objective legal standard to show that the law is impartial and balanced and represent the balance between interests of the individual and those of society. A book/scroll/legal tablets symbolises the Constitution as the highest law of the land and…
Hair is a marker for various ethnic, religious, cultural, gender and racial indications. Hair has been used to denote religion, status, wealth, marital status and age. Hair and identity are inseparable. Nowadays, it is common for workplaces to have dress code, appearance and grooming policies. Most of these policies target black people. These policies tend to be fundamentally sexist and racist and in some cases may violate several cultural and religious rights and the right…
Zimbabwe has finally amended the Education Act through section 68C to provide that no pupil shall be excluded from school on the basis of pregnancy (and of course my people were beyond outraged). Prior to this express provision, there was no government law, regulation or policy requiring the expulsion of pregnant students. Only a moralistic belief existed amongst teachers, parents, school administrators and the general community that expulsion was required by law. Such practice is…
A certified copy is an endorsed duplicate of the primary document which informs independent third parties that the photocopy is a true copy of the original document. The copy is affixed with the stamp and signature of the commissioner of oaths. Certification of documents is important because it provides for the legal validity of documents. *Who can be a commissioner of oaths? Section 6 of the Justice of the Peace and Commissioners of Oaths Act…
Everyone has the constitutional right to dignity and the common law right to a good reputation.  The constitutional right to dignity is wide enough to cover the right to a good reputation. Reputation is how third parties think of you objectively and dignity is how you feel about yourself subjectively. The same offending conduct may simultaneously violate one’s dignity and reputation. *Who can defame you? The media and individuals can be sued for defamation. Defamation…