A Comparative Analysis of Widow Dispossession in Francophone and Anglophone Cameroon
Widows throughout sub-Saharan Africa may be at risk from dispossession when their husbands pass away. Whereas some scholars view widow dispossession as prevalent and global, others suggest that the issue is less common than claimed. This article contributes to understanding about the frequency of, and reasons for, widow dispossession through an empirical investigation of widowhood in Cameroon. By adopting a comparative method, working with similar groups in both francophone and anglophone regions, it presents preliminary findings. These findings include a higher awareness of widow dispossession in anglophone areas compared to francophone samples. Moreover, notably fewer marriages are legally registered in the anglophone dataset, compared to the francophone group, which may place anglophone widows at greater risk of dispossession. The article then assesses the impact of custom, religion, civil law and common law on the findings. In conclusion, it recommends the need for a holistic consideration of land rights.