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Masalanabo Modjadji is no ordinary preteen – she is South Africa's only female traditional ruler, with claims of mystical rainmaking powers.Queen Modjadji is the hereditary ruler of the Balobedu, an ethnic tribe in South Africa's northern province of Limpopo.The monarchy, which originated in what is today southeastern Zimbabwe, has been ruled by women for over 200 years. Her mother was the first queen able to read and write.It means the royal family will qualify – when the queen turns 18 – for government money under the 1996 constitution that was designed to involve tribal rulers in the newly democratic South Africa.The ceremonies, which are restricted to the members of the royal family, with the queen leading the rain prayers, are held at five different shrines over five weekends.On the final day, if all goes to plan, the first rains of the season fall – welcome news in South Africa, which has suffered a series of recent severe droughts.Traditional rulers do not have any formal power in South Africa, but they still wield influence – and the government money is highly sought-after.The wives then have children with other royal relatives, and the children are counted as the queen's own.
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