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Moroka: What You Should Know About the Rain-Making Doctor of the Pedi Tribe in South Africa

Commanding the coming of rains from the sky is a ritualistic tradition that has been practised by cultures the world over. The Aborigines of Australia are known to have visited sacred sites within their villages to invoke rain when there had been prolonged periods of drought.

The Native American Indians have a dance ritual they perform which is usually led by the tribe’s spiritual head to bring down rain. In southern Nigeria and northern Ghana, traditional medicine-men and witch-doctors are reported to engage in rituals and customs that cause rainfall.

To wield the power to command rainfall is by inference wielding the power to dictate the flow of the natural cycle, as well as climate conditions. This power belongs most probably to the creator, however, the creator’s essence dwells in all of us and that is the reason why certain individuals who have come to realize the power dwelling within them have been able to use it to their advantage and to the benefit of the community wherein they live.

One of these rare and powerful individuals is the Moroka of the Pedi tribe in South Africa. Moroka means; the traditional rain-making doctor.

The Pedi tribe of South Africa belongs to the Sotho-Tswana major ethnic division. Their social structure is organized according to their native principle of Kgoro; that is huts built around a core assembly point. They are farmers and keepers of livestock. Among other tribal languages, the Pedi tribe speak Sepedi as their native tongue.


Among the Pedi tribesmen, if a village is struck by prolonged periods of drought, the village head assembles his most trusted advisors including the Moroka himself. Reasons for the assembly include but not limited to; discussions on causes for the drought, how much in goods and/or money the Moroka would accept in recognition of his services and finally what needs to be done to prevent the future occurrence of another long period of drought.

When the assembly dissolves, what remains to be done is up to the leadership of the Moroka.

The Moroka consults with the deities and ancestors to understand the actual cause of the drought. Usually, among the Pedi tribesmen, it is believed that prolonged droughts are caused by conflicts existing between members of the community, particularly members of the royal family. The Moroka upon discovering the root cause of the drought sets out to resolve it before proceeding with the ritual proper.



Written by How Africa

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