Masalanabo Modjadji

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Masalanabo Modjadji II (died 1894) was the second Rain Queen of the South African Balobedu tribe. Masalanabo reigned from 1854 to 1894. She was preceded by Rain Queen Maselekwane Modjadji I and succeeded by Rain Queen Khetoane Modjadji III.

During the native "location policies" of the early 1890s, Commandant-General Piet Joubert (1834–1900) surrounded the Rain Queen's home until she was forced to give herself up. Historian Louis Changuion wrote that, 'It would be the first time that white people would see the Rain Queen.' However, what happened was not what they had expected. 'After four days,' Changuion continues, 'an old wrinkled black woman was carried out on a litter, accompanied by her chief indunas, to negotiate with the white people. It was a great disappointment to the men watching the proceedings – of "She-who-must-be-obeyed" there was no trace. She was not the white woman of the legends. It is told that Joubert presented her with a "kappie" (bonnet) and a blanket.'

According to the book Realm of a rain-queen, however, Joubert was shown not the real Rain Queen, but an impersonator.

She: A History of Adventure

Masalanabo Modjadji is said to be the inspiration for H. Rider Haggard's novel, She: A History of Adventure.[citation needed]

Because Masalanabo Modjadji was barren, the royal council designated the daughter of her "sister" and "great wife" Leakhali as heir to the throne. Masalanabo committed ritual suicide in 1894.


  • Krige, Eileen Jensen and Jacob Daniel. Realm of a rain-queen: a study of the pattern of Lovedu society. New York: AMS Publishers, 1943; 1978. (ISBN 0404145647)
Preceded by
Maselekwane Modjadji
Rain Queen of Balobedu
Succeeded by
Khetoane Modjadji