By Tilo ngwana Rashaka Mokgopo
A word of mouth has it that Culture Spears, by far one of the largest traditional groups in the Southern Africa region, is heading for a split.
One of the founding members, Thembeni Ramosethleng, popularly known as Rra Mozara is due to release his own solo album soon. Kabelo Mogwe is said to be forming a new traditional group whilst the group’s selling voice, Magdeline Lesolebe-Mogwe is reluctant to continue contributing her vocal services to the group, according to reports.
It’s been three years since the group last released a traditional album. Last year I was tipped that someone who is privy to the situation said the reason behind that was because things we were not going well in the group.
However, Magdeline rubbished off the allegations as nothing but a blatant lie aimed at derailing the success of the group.
She was quoted in the Midweek Sun newspaper this past week as saying “that is just wishful thinking from other artists. Every business has enemies and we suspect ours are behind these rumours. The enemy is trying to destabilize us but that trick won’t work.”
Contrary to prior allegations, Magdeline said the group is still as united as ever and they are currently working on their 5th album due to be released in April this year.
In the newspaper, it is also alleged that Charma Gal is rubbing bellies with Mlesho (Lesego Lefatshe), Slizer’s ex-boyfriend. However, Charma Gal poured cold water on the allegations while blaming Slizer for spreading unfounded allegations about her.
“Slizer is an attention seeker who should rather be focusing on sorting out her personal life.
“I can only speculate that that the reason behind this speculation is borne out of the fact that we took Mlesho on our tour. Those who want to believe the rumour will still see us together a lot as I am working with him on something,” Charma Gal said.
Is not for the first time Culture Spears found itself in the break-up allegations. In 2006 and again in 2010 such rumours surfaced hence the group’s hit track “Re boile” in the Kuweletsana album.
Thembeni decides to go solo?
However, news of Thembeni, Kabelo’s best friend, releasing his own solo album cannot go unnoticed and probably carries a lot of weight in this whole affair. Over the past years Thembeni’s role in the group was becoming less significant.
The E ke Ntolo project that was founded by Culture Spears hardly gave credit to Thembeni. Just like Kabelo, Magdeline and formerly Jelinah Mokgwatleng, Thembeni also owns shares in Culture Spears; therefore, Thembeni partly owns the E ke ntolo project given the fact that Culture Spears resources and facilities were invested into the project to make it what it is today. But only Kabelo Mogwe is credited as the “Executive Producer” of the project, and not Culture Spears thus giving him the upper hand against all the members; which is totally unfair according to me.
The recent E ke ntolo vol 5 DVD did not feature Thembeni in the Rra Mozara comedy. In the previous four projects, Thembeni was the principal actor and he has helped brand the product. But now the storyline seems to be shifting as it has emerged that Thembeni is actually not Rra Mozara, but the step father to Mozara and now Mozara’s real father is up in arms claiming what rightfully belongs to him. Again, Thembeni faces relegation.
Jelina Mokgwathleng releases a solo album.
A former Culture Spears member, Jelina, affectionately known as Selonyana who resigned from the group in 2010 amid allegations of exploitation and underpayment is rumoured to be releasing her own traditional album. Two of my contacts in Botswana denied the allegation but my highly placed source in South Africa gave the allegations a nod. The picture that I saw that looked like a CD cover featured Jelina wearing traditional attire with the name “Selonyana” in the background. While still part of Culture Spears, Jelinah used to contribute in composing and song writing.
Kabelo’s new traditional group?
Although the Midweek Sun newspaper was not able to establish the name of the group by the time of going to press, the newspaper nonetheless confirmed that the new group does exist. Kabelo was the brain and voice behind all Culture Spears four title tracks, “Korone”, “Kulenyane”, “Khudu” and “Kuweletsana.” But to give the new group the holistic rhythm and sound it deserves, he will need the same voices as Thembeni’s and Magdeline’s.
What about Lydia Oile?
Make no mistake about it, Lydia is my favourite dancer and the energy she employs on stage gives Culture Spears songs a rhythm. She can also sing and her songs are ear-deserving but on her own, she will be lucky to sell 10 000 units especially under this climate whereby people resort to buying pirated music. Unlike her counterpart Magdeline, Lydia’s voice has, but lacks all the tenacity needed for the best selling artist.
And what will happen now?
Suppose the split rumours are a true reflection of reality, this will be the end of all the Culture Spears members but Magdeline. Simply put, all members will be committing a career suicide with Charma Gal only going to survive.
The truth is Charma Gal stands a very good advantage of surviving any storm that comes her way and she knows that Culture Spears is no match to her. The brand Charma Gal is known near and far and all because of Culture Spear’s resources.
E ke Ntolo was not supposed to be Charma Gal’s solo project but over the years the product was swiftly becoming synonymous to her; with Charma Gal leading all the title tracks of the previous five projects while contributing artists having one or two tracks to lead that rarely enjoy broadcast air times.
Anyway, let’s hope all is just a rumour and that there’s no need to panic even though the English books I read say: “where there is smoke, there is fire.”