There are no bastards. All children have the same rights, all children have equal opportunities, whether you were born legitimately or illegitimately. At least from the superficial view of the law.

Over the years, children born out wedlock have been subjected to the peripheries of society. They generally have been sidelined, and in some instances this still continues unabated. When it comes to issues like inheritance, the child born out of wedlock receives injustice in its full measure. Viewing bastards (highly derogatory) in a condescending manner.

That status alone is also problematic in the upbringing of the child. Strange notions are inculcated in the child to instill a permanent sense of insecurity in them. At times, children learn of their true parentage when they are grown up and the trauma that ensues is just unbearable. And at certain times the whole issue may be concealed by either the father or the mother who had extra-marital affairs and brought other human beings in the world, without the other party knowing it.

Under common law children born outside marriage suffered a lot of discrimination as they could not inherit from their fathers unless the fathers had written a will which provided for them.

The new Constitution however, gives a very clear dispensation as it clearly spells out that a child should not be discriminated against for the mere fact that they are born outside marriage.

Section 56(3) of the new Constitution, in articulating the grounds of non-discrimination, specifically mentions that no person should be treated in an unfairly discriminatory manner on the ground of whether they were born in or out of wedlock.

A will can be invalidated for reasons of excluding children.

Children born out of wedlock enjoy the same rights as children born in legitimate marriages.

The High Court ruling in June 2015 clearly spelt it out that children born out of wedlock have the same rights to their parents’ estate and property as those that are born in legitimate marriages.

Some mothers were quick to point it out that this was unfair as it gave children not born in proper marriages rights that were not supposed to be bestowed on them. This view has been dismissed that it only looks at the mother’s side and does not include the best interests of the child.

Children do not choose to be born, and they do not choose the circumstances in which they are born.







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