Rain Queens of baLobedu, South Africa || BaLobedu Royal Family

Lobedu or baLobedu is an ethnic community that currently inhabit the Limpopo province in South Africa. They are famously known for their baLobedu kingdom or rather Queendom where the monarch is always a woman from the Royal House of Modjajdi. Only female succession is allowed and no males are allowed on the throne. These Queens are said to possess rain making powers and in the olden days they also used to commit suicide by ritual poisoning when nearing their death so as to ensure faster succession for their daughters. However baLobedu were ruled by male kings before 1800. There are many historical stories as to why it changed from a kingship to a Queenship, See here – BaLobedu.

Royal titles include

  • King or Rain Queen – Khosikholo, Modjadji being the reign name which means ruler of the day
  • Prince Or Princess – Mokhololo (plural Bhakololo)
  • Chief – Khosi
  • Also kings/queens and chiefs are called Bamosata as a sign of respect/praise name. Mosata is royal compound

Source : SABC News

The matrilineal succession is usually mother to eldest daughter from the royal House of modjajdi, but in special cases where it is not possible, a granddaughter, sister or cousin can ascend the throne. According to tradition the female rulers used to marry their close male family members but the late Queen married her lover. This created some uproar from the royal council who felt he was not of royal blood but things seems to have changed since their daughter was recognised as heir. To date there have been 7 rain Queens since 1800.

Rain Queen Maselekwane Modjadji I

She was the first rain Queen of this dynasty. She reigned until her death in 1854 which was a ritual suicide by poisoning.

Rain Queen Masalanabo Modjadji II

She succeeded her mother and reigned from 1854 to 1894 when she committed ritual suicide. She was the first Queen to be seen by the white man since they lived in seclusion. She was forced to reveal herself to the south African colonial delegation to negotiate. To their surprise she was not a white woman ruling a black tribe as a legend has been told before. She did not have children of her own and thus was succeeded by her niece rain Queen Khesetoane.

Rain Queen Khesetoane Modjadji III

HM Rain Queen Khesetoane Modjadji III of baLobedu people, South Africa (reigned from 1895 – 1959).
Born in 1869, she succeeded her late aunt Queen Masalanabo Modjadji II as the rain queen. After her death she was succeeded by her daughter Rain Queen Makoma Modjadji IV.

Rain Queen Makoma Modjadji IV

HM Rain Queen Makoma Modjadji IV of baLobedu people of South Africa.
She was the daughter of Queen Khesetoane Modjadji iii, succeeded her mother and reigned from 1959 until 1980. She was succeeded by her daughter Rain Queen Mokope Modjadji V.

Rain Queen Mokope Modjadji V

She succeded her late mother Queen Makoma Modjadji IV of baLobedu after her death in 1980 and reigned until her death in 2001. She was a close friend of Nelson Mandela who bought her a Japanese vehicle for movement and facilitated her to receive a salary from the then ANC government. She had three children including Princess Makhaela who would have inherited the throne but died two days before her mother. She was therefore succeeded by her granddaughter Rain Queen Makobo Modjadji VI


Rain Queen Makobo Modjadji VI

HM Queen Makobo Modjadji VI of baLobedu, South Africa. (reigned 2003-2005)
Born in 1978, she succeeded her grandmother Rain Queen Mokope Modjadji V who had died in 2001. Her mother Princess Makhaela had died before ascending the throne. She reigned from 2003 until her sudden death in 2005. She was the youngest queen to ascend the throne at 25 years but now her young daughter is currently the youngest rain Queen Masalanabo Modjadji VII of baLobedu.

Rain Queen Masalanabo Modjadji VII

HM Rain Queen Masalanabo Modjadji vii of BaLobedu, South Africa.
The young teen is the daughter of late HM Queen Makobo Modjadji VI who died suddenly in 2005 after reigning for 2 years. The monarchy has officially been recognised by Jacob Zuma and Cyril Ramaphosa governments of South Africa. Her uncle prince Mpapada Modjadji has been her regent

She recently turned 18 and is expected to be crowned but wrangles between the Modjadji royal family have caused factions to support siblings, one in favour of Princess Masalanabo, the other in favour of her older brother Prince Lekukela Modjadji.

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