During the past 50 years, the study of African customary law has been enthusiastically pursued. The growing awareness of this subject has, at the same time, stimulated a critical awareness of the problem of its place in the legal system of an African state. With the attitudes of modern African nations, the place of customary law is necessarily an ambiguous one. Because the colonial governments' application of customary law and European law was determined, primarily, by the race of the litigants, this was frequently perceived as discriminatory and, hence, antithetical to the views of African nationalism. On the other hand, it is true that customary law, the law of the African people, reflects the traditional African culture, whereas the imported systems of Western European law reflect European values and attitudes. At an even more fundamental level, customary law is regarded as representing the old social order. As such, it is often perceived to be in opposition to the new social order represented by the European legal systems. The latter are usually more in keeping with the demands of modern society, particularly in the public and commercial sphere, whereas customary law is suited, rather, to the simple, face-to-face societies of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.