June 23, 2005 by

Makobo Modjadji

6 comments

Categories: Royalty

To the Balobedu people of South Africa, Queen Makobo Constance Modjadji VI was a woman with the magical ability to control the clouds and rivers.
Known as the rain queen of the northern Limpopo province, she allegedly received her supernatural powers from her grandmother, Queen Mokope Modjadji V, who died in 2001. For two years, Modjadji governed the Balobedu, one of only a few tribes in Africa with a female line of succession. She ruled through a council of men and was forbidden from marrying.
Despite its mystical nature, the queen’s power was so feared that other tribes avoided the Balobedu, even while warring with each other. In times of drought, caravans of gifts were sent to the rain queen in order to gain her favor. African leaders, such as former presidents Nelson Mandela and F.W. de Klerk, visited with past rain queens. The rain queen even received a government salary, since the mystique of her post boosted tourism to the region.
Born in 1978, Modjadji was the daughter of Princess Maria Makheala, who was heir to the throne until her death two days before Queen Modjadji V. In April 2003, Modjadji was reluctantly enthroned in an elaborate, formal ceremony. On the day of her coronation, a light drizzle fell from the sky. This, the tribe’s elders believed, was a good omen.
At 25, Modjadji was the tribe’s sixth and youngest rain queen. Although revered for her talents and lineage, many considered her to be too modern for such a post. Custom dictated that rain queens live reclusive existences, hidden in the royal kraal with their “wives,” or ladies-in-waiting. Modjadji, however, was a formally educated woman. She liked to wear jeans and T-shirts, visit nearby discos, watch soap operas and chat on her cell phone.
Modjadji also found disfavor with the royal council for having a son and a daughter with her boyfriend, David Mohale, who is a married man and a commoner. Only suitors of royal blood — men approved by the royal council — are supposed to mate with the rain queen.
Modjadji died on June 12 at the age of 27. Local news media said the medical reports list the cause of death as “chronic meningitis,” but Mohale claims Modjadji was poisoned.
On the night before the rain queen’s burial, a fire broke out in the building where her body was located. Firefighters were called to the royal complex and saved her coffin from being destroyed. The cause of the fire is under investigation.
Although family members were the only ones allowed to attend Modjadji’s funeral on June 20, thousands of mourners gathered outside the Royal Cemetery at Ga-Modjadji to pay their respects. A seventh rain queen has not been named.

6 Responses to Makobo Modjadji

  1. elizabeth

    i dont know what to say about a young girl of 27years die. please i feel sorry for the people of modjadji when they lost their young king

  2. martin ssemakula

    The death of the queen makes me sad.I pray that the dynasty survies, and the natural preservation of that beutiful country.Civilisation depends on that.

  3. kOKAVULU LUMUKANDA

    O Dearest departed majesty, words cannot express the profound sadness and great lost that has occured with your going to the western shore. O Great and august Queen be ever with us as we advance within a world sadly darkened by evil nd perfidious forces.
    May in your passing be ye not angry with us but send us now more than ever before the benefit of thou bountiful blessings. These things we ask of thee in the name of that august and most puissant goddess, we pray. Amen.
    Sincerely, Master Lumukanda, Uberallgeneralgemeindirektor, for the Cultural Komplex Vakonza, Inc. U.S.A.

  4. thulane

    FIRSTLY MY SELF AM A SWAZI, I HAPPEN TO HEAR ABOUT THE BALOBEDU TRIBE AND THEIR RAIN QUEENS WHILE I WAS BACK THERE IN MPUMALANGA.AM NOW BASED IN LIMPOMPO PROVINCE DUE TO ACADEMIC COMMINTMENTS
    I JUST WANT TO SEND MY CONDOLENCES TO THE BALOBEDU TRIBE ON THIS SADFULL LOSS OF THEIR RAIN QUEEN.LET THIS dynasty survive.ITS QUITE RARE IN AFRICA AS A WHOLE TO FIND A TRIBE UNITED LIKE THEIR , I JUST HOPE THEY SORT OUT THEIR DIFFERENCES BECAUSE IN SITUATIONS LIKE THIS OPPORTUNIST DO EMERGE AND TRY TO DIVIDE..WE THE PEOPLE OF SOUTH AFRICA WE ARE PROUD OF YOU PARTICULARY TO SHOW THE WORLD THAT ALSO WOMANS CAN LEAD..LASTLY I JUST WANT TO SAY YOU(BALOBEDU TRIBE AND THE QUEENS FAMILY)YOU ARE NOT MORNING ALONE THE WHOLE NATION IS GRIEVING

  5. Bosia kaShaka Zulu

    Bayete, Indlovukazi Kuyimvula. Ngiyahlonipa kakhulu odadewethu. Loku kathama ku kaModjadji. Hambe kahle
    Yimina Mntwana Bosia kaShaka Zulu

  6. dickjan schipper

    As visitors from afar,we were overawed by the feeling of spiritual presence of the Rain Queen when we walked the public pathways last year.We cannot forget the feeling of wonder,as we moved among the cycads.The distant sounds of music drew us to the village below where the unveiling of a tombstone was being celebrated.We were warmly welcomed by the villagers.
    A very special visit.
    Didi and Dickjan,Curacao,Caribbean

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