As South Africa celebrates women’s month this August, there have been differing views on the role of women in traditional leadership positions.

The Balobedu and Valoyi clans in Limpopo are some of the more prominent communities with female traditional leaders at the helm.

There is also a pending court case around the VhaVenda Kingship, with Princess Masindi Ramabulana challenging her uncle, King Toni Mphephu Ramabulana for the throne.

Ntsieni Ramabulana from the VhaVenda Kingship and Phethole Mampeule from the Balobedu Queenship told SABC News about the role of women in their royal councils.

“According to the Ramabulana Royal House, the role of women is an extremely important one. Our system has got what we call the great Makhadzi who is the highest advisory person within the royal council. The kingship for us is a three tier organisation where you have got the King, the great Khadi and then you have got the Ndumi. Since 400 years ago the Balebedu people have been enjoying the leadership of women and we never had any problem.”

Meanwhile, Hosi Phylia Nwamitwa of the Valoyi clan who ascended the throne following court battles that ended at the Constitutional Court in 2002, has advised women to be steadfast in fighting for their role in traditional leadership positions.

“I don’t think there is a special ability. Everybody must be aware that the right that I have is the same right that the next person has. In my case, it took about ten years to go from the high court to the Constitutional Court, by then, it was said a woman cannot take over.”

“I still remember the judge at the high court said it is not the culture of women, women don’t even eat chicken but when we had to go to the Constitutional Court they (Judges) said she (women) has got the right,” explains Nwamitwa.

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