Mokope Modjadji

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Mokope Modjadji V (1936 – 28 June 2001) was the fifth Rain Queen of the Balobedu tribe in the Limpopo Province of South Africa from 1981 until her death in 2001.


Mokope Modjadji was very traditional in her role as Rain Queen. She lived in seclusion in the Royal Compound in Khetlhakone Village and followed all the customs the Rain Queens were expected to follow.

Mokope Modjadji met and became good friends with the then President of South Africa Nelson Mandela. They first met at a meeting in 1994 and even then Mr. Mandela could only speak to Mokope through the traditional intermediary. It was said that Mokope was the only person to have kept Mr. Mandela waiting (except the rather volative Laurent Kabila of the Democratic Republic of the Congo).

Later they became better friends after Mr. Mandela bought the Rain Queen a Japanese Sedan to help her travel up the steep roads to her Royal Compound. He was then able to meet her in person and when asked about the Rain Queen Mr. Mandela said that similarly to Queen Elizabeth II, Queen Modjadji did not answer questions.

On other political fronts, Queen Mokope did not support the idea of an ANC government as she believed that its anti-traditional ideas would dilute her authority. However once the ANC came to power, they treated the Rain Queen with respect, probably because her village was a large source of income due to tourism, as well as the fact that her gardens acted as parks to preserve the large abundance of cycad trees that grew there. She was even offered an annual salary.

Mokope Modjadji had three children, and her designated successor was Princess Makheala. Mokope died in 2001, when she was 65, two days after her daughter Makheala had died. Therefore Makheala's daughter Makobo became the next Rain Queen. Mokope's son, Prince Masopha Edwin Modjadji died in August 2005.

Preceded by
Makoma Modjadji IV
Rain Queen of Balobedu
Succeeded by
Makobo Modjadji VI

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