Balobedu throne battle continues

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The battle for the Balobedu throne in Modjadjiskloof in Limpopo continues. Some members of the royal family say they plan to crown Princess Masalanabo as queen Modjadji the VII in April next year, when she turns 18.

This is despite this past weekend’s installation of her brother Prince Lekukela Modjadji as king elect. The Modjadji Royal Council under the leadership of the regent Bakhoma Mpapatla Modjadji, inagurated Prince Lekukela in a traditonal ceremony at Ketlhakoni outside Tzaneen.

In 2021 the Modjadji Royal Council announced their decision to install a male heir on the throne that has for the past two centuries been occupied by women. The council said the Balobedu were once ruled by kings and they were reverting back to that practice.

Some family members within the Modjadji royal house however, want Princess Masalanabo to take over from her late mother Queen Makobo Modjajdi the VI. They have since organised themselves under a group calling itself “Hands off Princess Masalanabo”.

Installation invalid

Chairperson of the Balobedu Royal Council Phetule Mokoto says the installation of Prince Lekukela as the king-elect is invalid. Mokoto says all traditional rituals must take place at the sacred place of Maolwe where they have buried the late kings and queens. He says the other family members do not have the power to install any person on the throne as they are not the custodians of the Maolwe ancestral tribe within the Balobedu.

Spokesperson of the Modjajdi Royal Council Ronny Mahasha says they will crown Princess Masalanabo as queen in April next year when she turns 18.

A court application to challenge the installation of king-elect Lekukela Modjadji will be heard in the High Court in Pretoria next Monday.

The Balobedu have for the past two centuries been ruled by queens who are known for their rain-making powers. The last queen Makobo Modjadji the VI passed away in 2005. She left two children, King-elect Lekukela and Princess Masalanabo, who are now at loggerheads over the throne.