The Lines of succession
Maselekwane Modjadji I
Maselekwane Modjadji was the first Rain Queen of the South African Balobedu tribe. Maselekwane reigned from 1800 to 1854.
Maselekwane was the daughter of Mugodo, Chief of the Karanga and Princess Dzungundini.
The child who became the first Modjadji was known as Maselekwane Modjadji. She lived in complete seclusion, deep in the forest where she practiced secretive rituals to make rain. Maselekwane committed ritual suicide by ingesting poison in 1854.
Masalanabo Modjadji II
Masalanabo Modjadji II was the second Rain Queen of the South African Balobedu tribe. Masalanabo reigned from 1854 to 1894.
Because Masalanabo Modjadji was barren, the royal council designated the daughter of her sister Leakhali as heir to the throne. Masalanabo committed ritual suicide in 1894.
Khesetoane Modjadji III
Khesetoane Modjadji became the third Rain Queen from the South African Balobedu tribe. Khesetoane reigned from 1895 to 1959.
In 1894 the previous Rain Queen, Masalanabo Modjadji, committed ritual suicide. Khesetoane was the daughter of Masalanabo’s “sister”, Princess Leakhali, and became the heir because Masalanabo’s council had already designated it before Masalanabo’s death
Makoma Modjadji IV
Makoma Modjadji was the fourth Rain Queen of the Balobedu tribe. She succeeded her mother in 1959 and reigned until her death in 1936. She did not follow all the rules of being a rain queen as she married Andreas Maake, with whom she had several children. She was succeeded by her daughter, Mokope Modjadji
Mokope Modjadji V
Mokope Modjadji was the fifth Rain Queen of the Balobedu tribe. She reigned from 1981 until her death on 28 June 2001.
Mokope Modjadji was more traditional than her predecessor; she followed all the rules and customs that were expected of a Rain Queen. She lived in seclusion in the Royal Compound in Khetlhakone Mokope Modjadji met the former President of South Africa Nelson Mandela in 1994. Mandela could speak to Mokope only through a traditional reprehensive and she did not answer any questions.
On other political fronts, Queen Mokope did not support the idea of an ANC government as she believed that its anti-traditional ideas would dilute her authority. However once the ANC came to power, they treated the Rain Queen with respect. She was even offered an annual salary
Mokope Modjadji had three children, including the woman who was chosen to be her successor, Princess Makheala. However, Princess Makheala died in 2001, two days before the death of her mother. Queen Mokope died at the age of 65. Makheala’s daughter, Makobo instead became the rain queen
Makobo Constance Modjadji VI
Makobo Modjadji was the sixth rain queen of the Balobedu tribe. She was the youngest Rain Queen to reign the kingdom of gaModjadji and also shortest reigning Rain queen; she only ruled for a period of 2 years – from 2003 until her death which was in 2005.
Makobo was the daughter of Princess Makheala and the granddaughter of the preceding Rain Queen Mokope Modjadji. She was believed to have the power to control their rivers and clouds. She and her mother were more formally educated as compared to the previous Rain Queens. She was crowned as the Rain Queen two years after her mothers death on 16 April 2003. Her mother was actually next in line for the throne but she died two days before her grandmother, Queen Mokope Modjadji died. Hence, she was selected as the next Rain Queen. She was crowned two years after her mother’s death. On the day of the coronation, there was a slight drizzle which was interpreted as a good omen.
Makobo was well respected for her powers, abilities and lineage but the elders viewed her as being too modern as she loved wearing jeans, visiting clubs, watching soap operas and chatting on her cellphone – I have to mention that all these things are a norm for generation Z. It is believed that her modernized manner of conducting her life led to her coronation being two years after the previous queen had passed on.
Makobo had a boyfriend who was a commoner, David Mogale, who was believed to have fathered her second child. He is also rumoured to have moved into the Royal Compound to live with her. This caused great controversy with the Royal Council, as the Rain Queen is only ever supposed to mate with nobles who the Royal Council themselves chose. Therefore, Mogale was banned from the village, and the Rain Queen’s two children have never been recognised by the Council.
On 10 June 2005 Makobo was admitted to the Polokwane Medi-Clinic with a then-undisclosed illness; she died two days later at the age of 27 of chronic menengitis. There are a lot of conspiracies relating the late Rain Queen’s death. Some villagers believe she died from a broken heart when her lover David Mogale was banned from the Royal Village by the Royal Council. Mogale himself claims that the Royal Council poisoned Makobo, as they saw her unfit to hold the much-revered position of Rain Queen, and this was the easiest way to have her removed. Hospital staff believed she died of AIDS while others are concerned with the disappearance of Makobo’s brother, Mpapatla, last seen on the day of Makobo’s death.A fire broke out in the local chief’s house, where Makobo’s coffin was being kept, before her funeral. The fire was extinguished before Makobo’s coffin suffered any damage, but the event seemed to arouse more suspicions of foul play surrounding Makobo’s death.
Masalanabo Modjadji VII
The Lobedu have not had a rain queen since Makobo Modjadji. Masalanabo Modjadji was only three months old when her mother passed away of chronic meningitis. She is currently only 15 years old and will ascend to her throne to become the next Rain Queen of the BaLobedu Kingdome of the Limpopo province once she is 18 years old. Modjadji’s reign will be different than those of her three immediate predecessors, who were queens in name only after the apartheid regime demoted them to chieftain status in 1972. Two years ago, former President Jacob Zuma changed things back, and made the Balobedu one of the handful of tribal monarchies officially recognized by the South African state. When she comes of age, Modjadji will rule at the same level as the powerful Zulu and Xhosa kings. Though they oversee much larger kingdoms, she will still hold influence over more than 100 villages, and receive a healthy government paycheck.