Limpopo drought: Rain queen’s family pleads for access to water

The Modjadji royal family in Limpopo, known for rain-making powers, struggles with water scarcity and unfulfilled government promises.


The Modjadji royal family in Limpopo is renowned for its rain-making powers.

But despite being the only royal family in the country that’s recognised for the queenship status of its queen, the family depends on contaminated water from streams used by wild animals because government has failed to provide them with clean running water.

The family is long known for its rain-making powers, but now says there’s not a drop of water left in the village and the palace as all the taps have run dry after years of drought.

The family has accused the Limpopo provincial government of failing to keep its promises.

“Year in and year out, your MECs and mayors visit this royal council, making all sorts of promise but none of them are kept,” Molate Ratlabala, a member of the Modjadji royal council, said yesterday.

A three-day visit to Khethakone, the Modjadji royal council headquarters in the Greater Letaba local municipality under the Norman Mashabane ANC region, proved true to the claim.

Residents queued for hours to fetch water from fountains and streams, while others depended on water tankers provided by the Mopani district municipality.

Some school children had to forgo lessons to be first in the long queues. In a visit by the ANC Youth League (ANCYL) provincial leadership last week, the family and the council accused premier Stan Mathabatha’s Cabinet of “being led by liars”.

Ratlabala said he had “had enough of unkept promises” from the MECs, mayors, the ANC provincial secretary and even the country’s deputy president.

“They all came here and made promises, but nothing came of the promises,” he told the league.

“Who should we now believe is capable enough to change our lives for the better? Is it you the youth league or those who came before?” he asked.

The regent of the Balobedu, Mpapatla Modjadji, said: “Our council depends on you for water as enshrined in the constitution and so do the Balobedu people.

“When you make promises, we have no reason to doubt your capabilities, but now we are beginning to doubt you and our patience is wearing thin,” he said.

“Under your leadership, projects are left unfinished while others are abandoned with no action taken against those who failed to deliver the best end-product.

“Fire all those who are corrupt. Fire all those who make empty promises because our people cannot drink and eat empty promises.

“If you continue like this, you are likely to find yourself alone at the polls next year,” he warned. Limpopo ANCYL provincial chair Tony Rachoene said he would take the council’s plight to the ANC headquarters in Polokwane for attention.