Culture Spears’s quick rise to stardom saw them over the years bag awards, travel the world and charm their way into many hearts. Botswana’s darling group’s hard-hearted journey has however courted controversy along the way.
From humble beginnings, bestsellers to being a household name, the marriage union of the lead vocalists Kabelo Mogwe and Magdeline Lesolebe, and now with rumours of their divorce, will we finally witness the demise of one of Botswana’s greatest groups? Staffer DAVID BAAITSE plots the merry go round story.
The story of Culture Spears is quite inspirational, the group which is endowed regionally for their music. When the group was founded in 2005, fans across the country including in South Africa were won. They have had a good run in the music industry, but along the way things got rocky, and many attributed this to clashing egos among the founding members.
It is somehow the norm for groups, locally or internationally to break away. Locally, the promising Matsieng group fell apart when its lead singer Ditiro Leero went solo, another group which suffered the same fate was Dikakapa, another award winning and endowed traditional music group in the region. While group break ups for many would mean progressing for other members, it turns out that it has mainly led to wasted talent because somehow, especially with traditional music, they fare better as a group.
Culture Spears lost its first members, one of the founding women Jelina ‘Selonyana’ Mokgwatlheng in 2010, she cited unhappiness with the the peanuts she was being paid and ill health among others. The following year, Mogwe and Lesolebe tied the knot. The other founding member, Thembeni ‘Ramozara’ Ramosetlheng also showed signs of distress, accusing the couple of running the group as their family business, eventually exiting the Kulenyane Studios to go solo in 2014.
But Lesolebe’s success in the group could have caused all the brouhaha in the first place. She started another group, Eke Ntolo, branding herself Charma Gal. The focus quickly shifted from Culture Spears with Eke Ntolo in the picture, the group, led by Charma Gal released hit after hit, all the while, Culture Spears projects being delayed. Charma Gal probably overshadowed Culture Spears, technically killing it, observers have argued.
She herself had her focus shifted to Eke Ntolo/Charma Gal and her prominence, leaving Culture Spears literally paralysed. After the group came to the fore, Culture Spears’s returning albums did not make the expected charm as fans had almost forgotten about them.
Culture Spears recent offering which was released last year had a very controversial song titled Thatswa Lesire, literally translating wash your wedding gown whose deeper meaning in Setswana culture means a married couple should bear a child in after wedlock. Magdeline who wrote sang, accusing people who wanted her to have a child of meddling in their marriage. The song had a sarcastic ring to it altogether and let out that there was trouble brewing at home.
Lately, reports suggested that the couple’s marriage was in shaky because of misunderstandings. This week, there were reports that Magdeline has moved out of the family home in Mogoditshane. Efforts to establish the reports were not successful.
Could this be the end of this popular group? Some observers say Kabelo should reunite with Thembeni and Selonyana to bring the group back to life.
A job, lucrative or not, is a job after all. Sometimes one has to compromise in order to make a living, few people get a job their dream jobs. But once in a while there is an emergence of people who listen to their inner calling to pursue their passion.
The founder and head designer of Butterfly Couture, Chawa July is one of those few people who left their job to pursue their passion. An inspiring fact about July is that she is a self-taught fashion designer, she used to copy patterns from her old clothes until she learnt how to draw them, and she also searched information from the internet to increase her knowledge and skills.
“It all started as a hobby from my love for beautiful dresses and I started adjusting and making clothes for myself. Gradually people around me started to take interest in my craft and the hobby slowly grew into a profitable business,” July said.
The 41 year fashion designer from Molepolole worked her way up in the Procurement space for over 10 years. She worked at Stanbic Bank, Kromberg & Schubert and Clover Dairy as a Procurement supervisor. Her last job before she entered the fashion industry was a Manager for Contacts & Sourcing at a Facilities Management Company.
She established her fashion house in October 2019 and it has become synonyms with elegant wedding gowns and exquisite evening wear. July said when designing she is inspired by various aspects such as the client’s personality, the mood of the event and the theme. She further mentioned that every opportunity is to show her craft so she always aims to please.
“Every Butterfly Couture piece must represent the elegance and the creativity the brand is about,” she said. Butterfly Couture has adorned beauty queens; Miss Botswana 2021/2022 Ambrociah Samboko at Miss Universe in South Korea and Miss Botswana 2019,Oweditse Fafah Phirinyane during her reign of which is the highlight of her career. They have also marked their presence in a few fashion events locally and in the neighbouring countries.”
They showcased at The Grand Palm Wedding Expo, Masa Fashion Show, Miss Botswana Fashion Show and Sacunda plus Size Fashion Show. The will also be showcasing at Gabs July Fashion Show on the 15th of July alongside the South African designer, popularly known as the King of glamour David Tlale.
July also identified that one of the challenges they face in the couture is that, it’s a seasonal business. “There are times in the year when the business is great and challenging. Winter in particular, is difficult time to stay afloat as there aren’t as many events that people are inspired to dress spectacularly for,” she said. She further said that her aim is to be a prime couturier of choice in Botswana.
“Craft like your life depends on it because every happy client is 10 more referrals” is what she said when asked to serve a word of wisdom to people hoping to make it in the fashion industry.
The Botswana Gospel Music Awards (BOGMA) and the Annual Gospel Awards (AGA) are said to be no longer in existence and a joint venture project has been put up that will carry out the awarding of gospel musicians.
The new entity has been established as Gospel Music Awards, which is a project at this moment is nearer to dishing out the first Gospel Awards under the leadership of the dissolved entities (BOGMA and AGA). “The difference is the same, it is just that the two projects were run by different minds which had differing objectives,” said the project coordinator, Letsweletse Moshabi when asked what the difference was between the two previous awards.
He added that at this junction their focus is on the future of the gospel musicians and they would like to direct their energies to the new project and forgo the past projects. “The Music market especially the gospel genre is too small and that basically means the very small market was experiencing the imbalance in the supply and demand forces. At that stage, supply was more than the demand so the reason for the joint forces is to allow the supply and demand forces to readjust and form equilibrium,” added Moshabi.
The mandate and objectives of the project are to recognize and award gospel music talent, to create awareness of the Botswana gospel music industry and to create a platform where fellow musicians may exchange ideas and network amongst themselves and approach international markets in cohesion.
The first of these joint awards will be held on the 27th August 2022 at Molapo Showcase under the theme ‘Cohesiveness to Build’ where about 18 categories will be up for grabs.
The Kumnandi Ekhaya musik festival will be held on the 30th September 2022 at Thamaga village. The event coincides with the release of famous host, Dj Ngwazi’s first album called ‘spring day’ on the 2nd of September 2022.
The Thamaga born and raised Lefika Lushen Kebatlege is a disc jockey and a music producer signed under WanitwaMos Entertainment in South Africa. Famously known as Dj Ngwazi and formally known as DJ superstar, he has really worked hard to become one of the finest export DJs the country has produced. Internationally, he is described as a DJ from South African because of his works with popular music artist Master KG.
Meanwhile, the music festival will feature South African artists, Makhazi, Master KG, Prince Benza and Mthunzi. They will also be joined by some of the big local artists, Franco, Vee Mampeezy, among others. “The tickets of the concert will be available at Spar stores, webticket and Kings bar. There will be three categories for VIP tickets, the one that goes for P1000, P1500 and P2200,” said the Kumnandi Ekhaya musik fest promoter Sadie Swartz of Saysay Entertainment.
“We have a new system to tackle the cry of promoters about security at the events. We will have a team of 100 security men, 10 horses and 15 dogs. We also agreed with the police to help with traffic control and no tickets will be sold at the gate to avoid circulation of money which can attract thieves,” said Kagiso Gaodumelwe from All Night Security.
“I started deejaying back in the days when I was still schooling at Kagiso Senior School and I never stopped working towards my career since then. I have a career in South Africa, since 2018 when Master KG took me in and his support as a brother has taken me to places,” said DJ Ngwazi describing his career journey.
“Kumnandi Ekhaya is Zulu language which means ‘go monate ko gae’ in Setswana. The name came about as a way of inviting my South African fans and supporters to my home village Thamaga to come experience the joy that comes with celebrating our freedom and independence. I used isiZulu because it’s the dominant language in South Africa,” explained Dj Ngwazi.
“The concert will be held in an open space which was used for agricultural purposes and we would like to call it ‘Ko Legoleng’. With this concert I want to redeem the dignity of our village because we once had the cases of youth who were terrorizing the community, beating up people in the streets and stealing and these was really a concern in our community because they were tarnishing the village name,” said Dj Ngwazi.
The purpose of this concert is to empower the community of Thamaga and local artist, more especially artist from Thamaga village like, Kgabo Sereto traditional group. There will be a litter picking campaign around the village before the launch of the concert .The sponsors which are already on board are Dladleng Entertainment and Kings bar and there are still more sponsors to be revealed.
”As the Kumnandi Ekhaya musik fest management, we are going to buy food combos and take them to Thamaga village Kgotla so they can be donated to the less privileged and orphans. Starting from October we will be donating pads to all Junior Schools in Thamaga,” said Dj Ngwazi. Dj Ngwazi’s motivational words to other artist and everyone else; work hard, be patient and be determined.