Culture Spears and Jelinah Mokgwatlheng go head to head.

MY truth about Culture Spears and Jelinah Mokgwatlheng.

Culture Spears in the early days of Kulenyane.


By Tilo ngwana Rashaka

From a far distance, things seemed great. They painted a picture of a happy family. No one could have guessed that the boat was no longer sailing smoothly until one of the pioneers of the popular African traditional group, Culture Spears, decided to pack her bags and walk away- and then SPILL THE BEANS!


Following the success of their second album, Kulenyane, that saw the group winning numerous awards and even performing at high-profiled government and private functions both locally and internationally, Culture Spears was undoubtedly a force to be reckoned with.


The group also built its own recording studio, Kulenyane studios, named after their second traditional project reportedly the leading Culture Spears project in terms of sales. The studio is headquartered in Culture Spears’ mansion right in the heart of Gaborone.



The second project of E ke Ntolo, Culture Spears‘ sister project, led by charismatic Magdeline Mogwe, formerly Lesolebe, recorded a major success. The hit Chika became the festive season anthem while dominating Botswana’s airwaves and topping the charts.



Perfect! Someone would have thought. It seems things are doing great for Culture Spears. While the fans and supporters are happy and enjoying the quality service they enjoy from the group, one of the popular and most loved dancers was struggling to come to term with the remuneration she received from the group.


Jelina Mokgwatlheng from Ghanzi, affectionately known as Selonyana and Rebabedi to many of her fans decided to part ways with the group around March 2010. She claimed that the reason for her departure from the group was because she was “not happy at all because I have worked with this group for so many years and we have been making a lot of money through festivals, but still the money that we are paid is peanuts. Legale Modimo o teng,” Jelinah was quoted in the media saying.


However, the group’s heavyweight, Kabelo Mogwe, poured a cold water on Mokgwathleng’s allegations and said that there was no animosity between the two parties at the time of her departure from the group.


“There was no problem at all, there was no conflict as far was we know. In fact when Jelina indicated that she wanted to quit, we called our elders who interviewed her in the presence of our lawyer and everyone understood her reasons as health problems. However, Jelina also assured us that if her health improved, she would be ready to return to the fold,” Mogwe told the media.


Return to the fold: Jelinah was later quoted in one of the newspapers saying she will never go back to Culture Spears and thus far she has stuck by her tough choice. In stead, Jelinah took her valuable and most loved service to insignificant Shumba Ratshekga who is no match to her former group.


To date, Jelinah has disappeared from the limelight while Culture Spears continues to produce great music even though it becomes noticeable that she has left a huge gap in the group that cannot be closed by anyone.


Around 2010 and 2011, rumours started doing the round that Culture Spears is considering quitting traditional music amidst the success of E ke Ntolo. Of course that was allegation Kabelo Mogwe dismissed as a blatant lie.


In 2011, Culture Spears released their fourth project, Kuweletsane. But today, tongues started wagging again that the group no longer value traditional music. The group has released two E ke Ntolo projects in two consecutives years while Culture Spears was last released in 2011. Culture Spears has 4 albums while E ke ntolo has 5.


Has Jelinah’s departure affected the group in any way?

  •   Jelinah’s departure from the group brought about dancers instability, from female dancers side.
  • The absence of her distinct dance moves is a notable gap.
  • It is very notable Lydia Oile misses Jelinah on stage. The collaboration between the two as Magdeline sings was and still is unbeatable, and I doubt Culture Spears will ever have that kind of a proper dancer-collaboration again.
  • Nonetheless, Culture Spear’s dance moves are the best from all the directions; well organized and well choreographed, no doubt and question about that.


First published on: 24 March 2013

First edited on: 16 November 2013


14 responses

  1. Ke rata mmino wa lona nkare nkabe ke mongwe wa leloko bt modimo ale okeletse

  2. Sfiso tshabangu sa | Reply

    I m real miss tht gal she is a real dancer and i love bokulenyana verymarch

  3. i lov dat gal,its boring without her

  4. one anatefisa e le ruri

  5. Guys hear me out.I don’t get it WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING you have lost touch with cultural songs concentrating month EKENTOLO.Ga ke gane you can spread your wings but don’t forget the inner part,power, life to other people like me.Please make the cultural songs your first priority, first baby.Please Please Please come back

    1. Lucas, SA, Sweet Matat | Reply

      alex, wonderful, you have said what i have been saying all the time. They lost the step forward, by stoping to sing those traditional songs.

      1. Yes Lucas I wish they could hear me out.When God gave you a bird must hold it because 100 birds will come if you let your bird go you will end up holding Owl.Ka Setswana Gao tshwere Nonyana e tshware thata esere gongwe tseding tsa tla wa tlogela e o e tshwereng wa latela Merubisi Nonyane ya Bosigo
        Sent via my BlackBerry from Vodacom – let your email find you!

  6. Miss culture spears back in the days… Sad!

  7. Pls bring Jelinah back to the fold…we love all of you guys…pls bring her back by hook or crook. Tshepo Oliphant

  8. Paul Pasiparowa | Reply

    Please bring her back and I think you should produce another serious culture focused album. The group was more than a family to us. We expected more than one marriages to take place among group members.

  9. I really mc de hit culture spears the group that beat all the cultural group in Botswana I which dis group can resolve their problems and stop fighting like child u are coming to far with this group so don’t let the economic issue to provoke the group sort your problems and be the group that I know will succeed until the you fall a part of six feet under ground I really love you jelina and your group the way we like you we even dance all the albums that you are realizing culture spear we want to see us to reach the stars and meet you some other times and performed for you we,v been trying to speak with kabelo every day on facebook but he always delay to see us only telling us that we will meet when they a coming to Johannesburg he never get interest on us I think if we could be your juniors will be fine we live far away from Botswana but we love the group if you get any interest please inform me on email address

  10. Robert Muyambo Chibode | Reply

    I love Culture Spears guys. They are doing me very well. May God continue to bless them and wish if Jelinah come back to the group.

  11. Kabelo swallow your pride…bring back Jelinah and others or leave the cultural music…I am a musician too I know how difficult and embarrassing of what I am asking you to do BUT what matters the most is the will to do it.

    When you finally come to your senses you will be surprised by time you have wasted since you were requested to do so. Remember Lucifer who pride himself not knowing how hard he was going to fall. Pls don’t imitate him. Swallow your pride.

  12. Akubuyelwane bakithi plz

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