Heat, Rain, Queen Modadji, the Rain Queen and Rugby
For days and weeks we’ve had extreme heat, everyone enervated, warnings re keeping hydrated and animals too. Average temps for October are 27 degrees C. We’ve been having temps of 35, 36, 37, 38, even higher in surrounding areas. (Down in Cape Town it’s still cool-ish). Rain usually comes to the highveld within the first week of October, sometimes not, but definitely not preceded by this kind of extreme heat. No sign of rain or hope in sight …
I’ve been watering my very thirsty garden daily and watching the jacarandas from my study in the near distance bloom, colours and shadings different at changing times of the day. There’ve been some breezes in the last few days – I took this 5 sec video from my garden on Tuesday.
My gardener and I visited the nursery on Wednesday – lovely to choose some plantings. Rain looked promising mid afternoon but no luck. The wind was high, the clouds looked promising.
I thought of Queen Modjadji VI, the Rain Queen. She comes from a matrilineal dynasty from as far back as the 1400’s. It is a tale of intrigue and incest in the royal family, mysticism, strife and ritual. She was a direct descendant of one of the royal houses of Momomatapa, which ruled over the Zimbabwean people in the 15th and 16th century. They fled Zimbabwe, their place of origin, and have been in here in Limpopo (South Africa) where unique cycads are to be found, for the last 2 centuries.
The Rain Dance is an annual ritual performed in the first week of October when the rainmaking charms, hitherto kept under strict lock and key, are brought out.
The people (of the Balobedu tribe) remove to a kraal and Makhubo the cow enters the kraal, praises are sung to it and it is fed beer.
They then remove to a special shrine adjacent, where the rainmaking charms are laid out. Skins are strategically placed, and the beer is poured over the charms. The Rain Queen calls on the ancestors for rain and the people praise the Queen. There’s a complicated beer making and drinking ritual, out come the drums, songs for unity are sung and people dance around the shrine.
The nation of the Balobedu (about 1 million) sing and dance for the rest of the day …
She died young in a nearby hospital at the age of 27, in 2005, from a sudden and mysterious illness – she’d ruled for only 2 years. There are all sorts of theories as to the real cause of her early death. (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rain_Queen)
I’ve done my own version of a rain dance on the odd occasion in the privacy of my garden. Just a bit of jumping around for a minute, outside, imploring the rain to come. I did one this past Tuesday afternoon. I could smell the rain in the air, on the wind… At long, long last – rain on Wednesday night. What a blessing it is … the air is different, all a little brighter, and things are slightly cooler.
The clouds are building up as I write –
Tomorrow afternoon our Springboks play Wales at the Twickenham Stadium (London) – we’re in the quarter-final! It’s going to be one hang of a match (Rugby World Cup). I’m having some girlfriends for tea at 4.00 and the match starts at 5.00, when the beer comes out, and other …
And, while I think of it, imagining – I remember last week when SA played the US. How the US team sang their national anthem prior to the match! With such gusto and energy! It was a lovely experience to share in their pride while they were singing – they played well too. Gave us good competition ..
Have a wonderful week one and all –
Thanks Mike for uploading the video for me, long distance. http://www.mikescottanimation.com
with thanks to google images for photos and info