It’s been 50 years since Britain left. Why are so many African judges still wearing wigs

Discussion in 'Race, Religion, Science and Politics' started by Infinite_loop, Sep 19, 2017.

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  1. Infinite_loop

    Infinite_loop Is this thing on?
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    [[[[[Another Remnant of Early 20th century colonialism that should be eradicated.]]]]]]]

    It’s been 50 years since Britain left. Why are so many African judges still wearing wigs?


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    Zimbabwean judges wear long red robes and horsehair wigs, a throwback to an era of British colonialism, in Harare in January. (Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi/AP)
    By Kevin Sieff September 17
    NAIROBI — The British gave up their last colonies in Africa half a century ago. But they left their wigs behind.

    Not just any wigs. They are the long, white, horsehair locks worn by high court judges (and King George III). They are so old-fashioned and so uncomfortable, that even British barristers have stopped wearing them.

    But in former British colonies — Kenya, Zimbabwe, Ghana, Malawi and others — they live on, worn by judges and lawyers. Now, a new generation of African jurists is asking: Why are the continent’s most prominent legal minds still wearing the trappings of the colonizers?

    It’s not just a question of aesthetics. The wigs and robes are perhaps the most glaring symbol of colonial inheritance at a time when that history is being dredged up in all sorts of ways. This year, Tanzanian President John Magufuli described a proposed free-trade agreement with Europe as a “form of colonialism.” In Zimbabwe, President Robert Mugabe still refers to the British as “thieving colonialists.”

    In June, the premier of the Western Cape province of South Africa was suspended from her party after writing on Twitter that modern health care was a colonial contribution.

    written and speeches made about why the wig ought to be removed. In Uganda, the New Vision newspaper conducted an investigation into the cost of the wigs, reporting that each one cost $6,500. In Ghana, a prominent lawyer, Augustine Niber, argued that removing wigs would reduce the “intimidation and fear that often characterize our courtrooms.”

    One of the editors of the Nigerian Lawyer blog wrote that wigs weren’t made for the sweltering Lagos heat, where lawyers wilted under their garb. “The culture that invented wig and gown is different from our own and the weather is different,” Unini Chioma wrote.

    Increasingly, though, opponents of the colonial outfit aren’t just arguing against inconvenience but against a tradition that African judiciaries appear to be embracing. Britain’s “colonial courts,” which preceded independence, were sometimes brutal. In response to Kenya’s Mau Mau rebellion in the 1950s, for example, the wigged white judges sentenced more than 1,000 people to death for conspiring against colonial rule.

    “The colonial system used law as [an] instrument of repression, and we’re still maintaining this tradition without questioning it,” said Arnold Tsunga, director of the Africa program at the International Commission of Jurists. “It’s a disgrace to the modern courts of Africa.”

    demanded that barristers remove their wigs before addressing her.

    “The abolition of wigs is all part of the progression towards a modern way,” said the chief justice, Marilyn Warren.

    This year in Britain, the House of Commons lifted the requirement that clerks, who are experts in parliamentary law, wear wigs. John Bercow, the speaker, said the change would promote a “marginally less stuffy and forbidding image of this chamber.”

    But aside from the wigs, African courts have adapted to a post-colonial context. New constitutions have been written. A new generation of judges has emerged. Even though some judiciaries have bent to political pressure, new legal systems are rooted in British common law but shaped by the traditions and cultures of their own countries.

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    In Kenya this month, the Supreme Court annulled the recent presidential election, a bold display of judicial independence that infuriated the sitting president.

    In the Nairobi courtroom where the ruling was delivered, several lawyers wore their powdered wigs. Behind the bench, a row of men and women in red robes presided.

    Maraga sat down before speaking, the sleeves of his black robe hanging over the bench.

    “The greatness of a nation lies in its fidelity to its constitution,” he said, “and a strict adherence to the rule of law.”


     
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  2. African King

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    I say this about Nigeria as well. I have a distant female cousin that is a lawyer and she walks around wearing that stuff....
     
  3. OckyDub

    OckyDub is a Verified MemberOckyDub Fair Use Nigga....Fair Use
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    ...for the same reasons they're Christians.
     
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  4. BlackguyExecutive

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    Tradition! LOL

     
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  5. DreG

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    Where would the world be without Europe to save and civilize us ...
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  6. Champagne Papi

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  7. SB3

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    Because 9/10 blk ppl will do whatever the other blk ppl around them are doing. Good ol group think.
     
  8. Cyrus-Brooks

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    Tradition is often an excuse to continue doing something that's obsolete or stupid.
     
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