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Kanuni  

Heike Becker

hompa (queen) of the Kwangali people in the northeastern Namibian Okavango region for more than thirty-five years, was probably born around the turn of the twentieth century. Very little is known about her background except that she was a member of the Kwangali royal clan. Her exact date of birth is unknown, but she was described as a young woman when she first came to power in 1923.

Kanuni became a regent in 1923 after the death of the previous hompa, Kandjimi. As a sister to both the previous hompa and his successor, she first reigned in place of the new hompa Mbuna who was still very young but had been chosen as Kandjimi s successor and approved by the colonial authorities under the newly established Native Commissioner for the Okavango District René Dickmann Mbuna also referred to as Kandjimi II died in an accident in the ...

Article

Sara Busdiecker

wife of the Afro-Bolivian king Julio Pinedo, was born in the community of Santa Ana in the Nor Yungas region of La Paz, Bolivia, on 1 August 1944 to Natividad Zabala Torrez and Benito Larrea Torrez. She married Pinedo in 1963, becoming Angélica Larrea de Pinedo. Julio Pinedo was crowned rey afroboliviano or rey de los negros (Afro-Bolivian king or king of the blacks) in 1992, after which Larrea was sometimes referred to as “la reina” (the queen). They had no children of their own, but raised Julio’s nephew Rolando Pinedo as their son. Rolando is heir to the title of king in this hereditary royal lineage that includes Julio Pinedo’s immediate predecessor as king, his grandfather Bonifacio Pinedo. The earliest remembered king in the lineage is Uchicho, who was likely crowned in the late nineteenth century.

After marrying Larrea spent her adult life in her husband s ...

Article

Mary Nombulelo Ntabeni

member of the Lesotho royal family, queen (Mofumahali), and three-time regent, was the youngest daughter of Thabo Mojela, the principal chief of Tebang in Mafeteng District, Lesotho (then known as Basutoland). Born ‘Masentle Mojela, she pursued her education vigorously from elementary school up to Bath Training College of Home Economics in the United Kingdom, and she also attended short courses concerning rural women and international affairs.

‘Mamohato became known to the Basotho as “mother of the nation.” The people started referring to Princess ‘Masentle as ‘M’arona (literally “our mother”) the moment Morena e Moholo (king, or paramount chief) Moshoeshoe II picked her from among the many aspiring princesses to be his future wife. The affectionate designation was sealed on the day of their wedding in August 1962, after which the new Mofumahali was appropriately named Mamohato after the first wife of King Moshoeshoe I the founder ...

Article

Judith Imel Van Allen

BaTawana mohumagadi (queen or queen mother) and regent, was born in the Orange Free State, South Africa. Her parents were from the BaRolong, a Tswana subgroup resident both in South Africa and the Bechuanaland Protectorate, now Botswana. Pulane was trained as a nurse and took a job at Tiger Kloof School in South Africa, where she met her husband-to-be, Moremi, heir to bogosi (rulership) of the BaTawana of Ngamiland in northwestern Bechuanaland. They married in 1937, the year that he became the BaTawana kgosi (king) as Moremi III. Pulane had three children, including Letsholathebe, the heir to BaTawana bogosi.

Moremi III’s relationship with the British colonial government was conflictual, with repeated British accusations of corruption under his rule. In 1945 the British suspended Moremi III and named Pulane, whom they regarded as trustworthy, as tribal treasurer. When Moremi III was killed in a car crash in 1946 ...