The Citizen (Gauteng)

Balobedus appoint king


Prince Lekukela Modjadji, 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 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.

On Friday, the Balobedu Royal Council said Masalanabo would become khadi-kholo (great aunt) in the Balobedu royal family.

In 2016, former president Jacob Zuma officially recognised the Balobedu as the first queenship in the country. Masalanabo, then 11, was expected to take over after her mother and become Queen Modjadji the 7th after turning 18. A ceremony to celebrate her queenship was officially held in 2018, and President Cyril Ramaphosa was one of the dignitarie­s.

After a custody battle between the Balobedu and Masalanabo’s father, ANC MP Mathole Motshekga intervened and was granted temporary custody of the child. Motshekga was once an advisor to the Balobedu Royal Council.

Lekukela will be inaugurate­d next year.

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