Mudjadji the Rain Queen.

The Rain Queen, a South African icon has a fascinating history starting way back in the 1500’s. The Lovedu split from the Karanga Empire and moved South, settling in the area now called Modjadjiskloof ( formerly Duiwelskloof), north of Tzaneen. The first Rain Queen was crowned in 1800, since then there have been six Rain Queens. Mudjadji “She who must be obeyed” the Rain Queen, is considered the living embodiment of the Rain Godess as well as the embodiment of rain and the guarantor of the yearly seasonal cycle. She presides over an annual rain ceremony in November.

Makhobo was installed as Rain Queen on 11 april 2003 and ruled until 12 June 2005, when she died at the age of 27, leaving her five month old daughter Masalanabo and a son. Her children were not fathered by a royal consort, making their official status uncertain. Makhobo’s brother, Prince Mpapatha has been designated Regent. He insists that his late sister’s child, Princess Masalanabo will be enthroned as next Queen whem she turns 18.

The Rain Queen’s mystical rain making powers are believed to be reflected in the lush gardens which surround her royal compound. Her garden contains abundant cycads, one of which, the Modjadji cycad, is named after her.

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