Prince Lekukela Modjadji ascends to Balobedu royal family throne - instead of his sister Masalanabo

accreditation
0:00
play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
A 13-year-old Masalanabo Modjadji during the Motsepe Foundation national day of prayer on 25 November 2018 in Johannesburg.
A 13-year-old Masalanabo Modjadji during the Motsepe Foundation national day of prayer on 25 November 2018 in Johannesburg.
PHOTO: Frennie Shivambu/Gallo Images
  • In a surprise move, the Balobedu Royal Council has appointed Lekukela Modjadji, the son of late Rain Queen Makobo Modjadji, as king of the Balobedu nation.
  • His sister, Masalanabo, was expected to take over the queenship in two years.
  • His appointment has shocked many in the Limpopo tribe.


Prince Lekukela Modjadji, the son of the late Rain Queen Makobo Modjadji, has been appointed king of the Balobedu nation, 16 years after her death.

The government recognised the Balobedu queenship in 2016, paving the way for his 16-year-old sister, Masalanabo, to become Rain Queen VII.

His appointment shocked many in the Limpopo tribe who expected Masalanabo to ascend to the throne at the age of 18.

The heir to the Balobedu throne has been matrilineal and all heirs are referred to as rain queens.

The queenship dates back to the 1800s, when Maselekwane became queen and ruled the Limpopo tribe between 1800 and 1854.

In an announcement on Friday, which was written in the Khelobedu language, the Balobedu Royal Council said Masalanabo would become khadi-kholo (great aunt) in the Balobedu royal family.

READ | Speaking out: Modjadji royal family calls for Khelobedu to be SA's 12th official language

In 2016, former president Jacob Zuma officially recognised the Balobedu as the first queenship in the country, after the apartheid government relegated them to chieftaincy in 1972.

Masalanabo, then aged 11, was expected to take over after her mother and become Queen Modjadji the 7th, immediately after turning 18. A ceremony to celebrate her queenship was officially held in 2018 and President Cyril Ramaphosa was one of the dignitaries.

Following a custody battle between the Balobedu and Masalanabo's father, who had reportedly taken her away immediately after her mother's death in 2005, ANC MP Mathole Motshekga intervened in the dispute and was granted temporary custody of the child by the Randburg Magistrate's Court. Motshekga was once an advisor to the Balobedu royal council.

READ | It's education first for Queen Modjadji 'because the world is modern'

Masalanabo has since been attending school and living with the Motshekga family in Gauteng. The teenager visits her royal home during school holidays to learn the customs and practices as the designated "rainmaker" of the Balobedu.

Mpapatla Bakhoma Modjadji has been the regent since the queen's death 16 years ago.

Lekukela will be inaugurated in October 2022, according to the royal council.


We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
The ANC's leadership race is heating up. Who do you think will be elected party president at Nasrec in December?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has got it in the bag
7% - 538 votes
I foresee a second term for Cyril Ramaphosa
83% - 6567 votes
Don’t discount a Zweli Mkhize win
11% - 842 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
17.75
+0.5%
Rand - Pound
20.21
-0.1%
Rand - Euro
17.54
-0.0%
Rand - Aus dollar
11.59
+0.3%
Rand - Yen
0.12
+0.5%
Gold
1,710.35
+0.6%
Silver
20.99
+1.4%
Palladium
2,283.50
+2.7%
Platinum
917.50
+1.4%
Brent Crude
88.86
+4.2%
Top 40
59,073
+2.1%
All Share
65,485
+2.0%
Resource 10
63,483
+3.0%
Industrial 25
78,842
+1.7%
Financial 15
14,049
+1.7%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE