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Rain making rituals continue despite uncertainty over Rain Queen

23 November 2015, 14:47 Jenni Evans, News24

Cape Town - There is no connection between the drought in five provinces and the controversies which have left South Africa without a rain queen, a spokesperson for the Royal Modjadji Nation said.

Spokesperson John Malatji said that while the custody battle continues over the alleged abduction of a 10-year-old girl waiting to be confirmed as heiress to the throne, the rainmaking rituals have been carrying on.

In 2005 Rain Queen Modjadji VI died suddenly and two days later, her mother, who had reigned as Modjadji V also died. Modjadji VI left a baby who was not even 1-year-old yet, and because a minor can't be a queen in terms of South African law, the position was vacant and there was no rain queen.

A regent, who is acting in the rain queen's job until she is old enough to take over, was appointed - in this case her half brother.

Malatji said the regent makes arrangements for all of the five rituals to be carried out between September and October and these have been conducted since 2006.

“It is not the first time that South Africa goes through a drought,” said Malatji.

“We, like Christians and other religions and creeds, value rain for life, work and farming and developed a system for calling for good rains annually. No connections at all,” said Malatji when asked whether he thought there was any connection between the turmoil in the royal house and there being no rain queen, and the drought.

Four parts to ritual

He explained that there are four components to the rainmaking ritual of the Balobedu:

- The drinking of the royal brew by the representative animal;

- The supplication and prayer for rain, health, and good harvest;

- The sharing of the royal brew by all members of the royal family at the royal shrine;

- The singing, dancing and refreshments afterwards.

Five rituals are conducted at shrines on the first five weekends of spring and the royal regent has presided over these since 2006.

For four of the rainmaking rituals, a bull or a cow represents the leader after whom the shrine is named.

The cows are named Mokgadi, Makobo Mamotsatsi after the previous rain queens, and a bull is named after Papo. A sheep is used for the fifth ritual.

Malatji said their area is in an early stage of drought, and the ritual animals are not affected yet.

But, he added: “These animals are not mystical or magical. They would be adversely affected by drought.”

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- News24


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