Queen Modjadji to air on Sunday as judge strikes royal family case off the roll

Advocate Terry Motau is representing MultiChoice on the interdiction of the broadcast of the series Queen Modjaji at the Pretoria high court, which is set to premiere this Sunday on Mzansi Magic.
Advocate Terry Motau is representing MultiChoice on the interdiction of the broadcast of the series Queen Modjaji at the Pretoria high court, which is set to premiere this Sunday on Mzansi Magic.
Image: Antonio Muchave

The Pretoria high court has removed the urgent application to interdict the much-anticipated Queen Modjadji series off the court’s roll.

Delivering the judgment, acting judge Anthony Minnaar said the matter lacks urgency and the court has not been made aware of how the rights of the Rain Queen Masalanabo Modjadji VII, will be infringed upon by a work of fiction.

“They knew about the [series] as early as June. Instead, they waited for the production to be completed.

“It's difficult for the court to comprehend how the rights of the queen will be infringed by this fiction of work and in essence the matter lacks a sense of urgency. The matter is stuck off the roll,” he said.

The series was produced by renowned poet Duma ka Ndlovu and is supposed to air on Sunday on Mzansi Magic.

However, the Balobedu Royal Council approached the Pretoria high court on an urgent basis to have MultiChoice prevented from airing it as they say they didn't give consent nor had they been consulted.

Adv Terry Motau, representing MultiChoice, argued that the application was not urgent as the applicant knew about the production since 2023 through media and that information was liaised with them since March. 

He told the court that if the application was granted, this will result in MultiChoice suffering a great loss in revenue.

“Given the importance and the significance of the show, your lordship saw the list of things that have been spent on, in terms of research, personnel that Mr Ndlovu bought on board, the publicity, the contracts with advertisers, the amount of revenue or income that's stands to be lost.”

Motau added that the series was not about current events but that it was a work of fiction that documents the injustices that the Balobedu endured about 200 years ago.

“The story centres around the first Rain Queen. The series is thus set in the context of events that occurred more than 200 years ago and based on characters and plots from that time,” he said.

“If it is not clear to audiences from this alone that the series is a work of fiction, though historically inspired, then also at the start of each episode the following wording is shown: “Historical drama inspired by true events”.

“A longer disclaimer also follows at the end of each episode,” he said. 

Meanwhile, the Balobedu Royal Council representative Adv Louis Kok argued that the show's airing would infringe on the queen's rights. 

“This is a case of constitutional and cultural and even religious importance as protected by the constitution, it's a serious case unlike the one where financial remedy will be said at a later stage. The rights of the Queen and the Balobedu will be infringed upon,” he said. 

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