SOUTH AFRICA: I Do Not Choose to Drink

Like U.S. Presidents before F.D.R., the rain queens who rule over the Lovedu tribesmen in Africa's northern Transvaal are expected voluntarily to limit their own terms of office. When a rain queen's powers are on the wane (at the age of 60 or thereabouts), tradition calls for her to retire into the hills and quaff a poison compounded of crocodile entrails. This was the way it was in the days of Mujaji I and in the days of Mujaji II (the light-skinned queen who served as a model for H. Rider Haggard's all-powerful She) who dutifully killed herself in...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!