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The Luvedu, a southern Bantu tribe living in the north-eastern Transvaal, are singularly uninterested in cosmological speculation. Although they name their god Khuzwane, ‘the creator’, and say that when he created man he left his footprints on rocks which were still soft, the apparent remoteness of the rest of creation from their daily lives discourages the growth of legend. The preoccupation of the Luvedu is the present order of Nature, over which they believe their own ‘divine’ queen has control. A complex ritual surrounds her person—to shield her from evil influences and to preserve the strength of her magic. Signs of her vitality are said to be the immunity of the queen from disease and the effectiveness of royal rain charms. People still recall with terror the years following the death of Queen Majuji II in 1894. The tribal lands were ravaged by drought, locusts, famine, and disease. Perhaps a third of the population followed all the cattle into death. The death of a queen, the Luvedu explain, is a matter of her personal volition.

Subjects: Religion.

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