The Realm of a Rain Queen: A Study of the Pattern of Lovedu Society, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Realm of a Rain Queen

A Study of the Pattern of Lovedu Society, 1st Edition

By E. Jensen Krige, J. D. Krige


368 pages

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Originally published in 1943 this book discusses the life and culture of the Lovedu, a Bantu tribe in South Africa. As well as discussing the Rain-Queen, much of the book is devoted to the royal institutions; the network of links woven by kinship, marriage and marriage cattle, the legal procedure of compromise and appeasement and various aspects of magic, witchcraft and religion. Considered as a whole, the culture emerges as a structure supporting and in turns supported by the Rain-Queen.

Table of Contents

1. Pageants of the Past

2. A Picture of Everyday Things

3. Bases of Subsistence

4. Co-operation and Exchange

5. Family Ties

6. Some Social Groupings

7. Early Training

8. Fertility and the Drum Cult

9. Marriage and the Social Structure

10. Cogs in the Political Machinery

11. The Genius of Juridical Adjustments

12. The Pursuit of Health

13. The Role of the Ancestors

14. Witchcraft and Sorcery

15. The Rain Cult

16. Tribal Traits and Attitudes

17. Culture Contact and Culture Change

About the Authors

Eileen Jensen Krige (1905–1995) was a prominent South African social anthropologist noted for her research on Zulu and Lovedu cultures. Together with Hilda Kuper and Monica Wilson, she produced substantial works on the Nguni peoples of Southern Africa. Apart from her research she is considered to be one of the 'pioneering mothers' of the University of Natal, Durban, South Africa, where she taught from 1948 until retirement in 1970.

About the Series

African Ethnographic Studies of the 20th Century

Routledge is delighted to be re-issuing 79 volumes originally published between 1931 and 1988 in association with the International African Institute. Unavailable outside a few key libraries, many of these republished volumes were at the cutting edge of a fieldwork and ethnographic revolution in African anthropology in the decades after 1930. It involved the production of a wide body of fieldwork-based ethnographic documentation about the cultures of the different societies in Africa. Secondly, it saw a methodological turn to intense, localized investigations of cultural tradition and social change in a rapidly modernizing context. These investigations involved a more sustained and systematic, more professional and ‘scientific’ form of immersion and participant observation, than anything that had gone before. The sites of engagement were urban as well as rural; the pioneering researchers were female as well as male. No longer was the journal essay the repository of the latest research in the discipline, but rich ethnographies running into hundreds of pages.

The volumes are supplemented with maps, which will be available to view on or available as pdfs from the publishers.


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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Anthropology / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Regional Studies