Monday, 5 June 2023

Ernie's African Odyssey Pt. 4 - Botswana

Before we resume our African odyssey, a quick call for help. Looking ahead at the rest of the B and C countries, there are a few for which I don't have much music to feature in the post. So if any of you can suggest some artists from Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad or the Comoros (especially the last two) that would be much appreciated. 

Now back to the tour. Stop 4 is Botswana, home to the Kalahari Desert and the Okavango Delta. So depending on when and where you go you will either be very dry or very damp.

Culture Spears burst onto the scene in 2005 with their debut album "Korone", and the follow up "Kulenyane" broke local sales records and won many awards. Despite suffering many of the travails that afflict successful groups (deaths, departures and divorces) they are still going strong. Today's selection was released in 2019.

The divorce I referred to involved lead singers Kabelo Mogwe (whose rich voice you hear on "Didimala Moratiwa") and Magdeline Lesolobe. Ms Lesolobe now goes by the name Charma Gal and has a very successful solo career. "Mahala" was a big smash in 2021.

Next we travel way back to the 1980s, when Culture Spears were barely even needles. Back then the Kgwanyape Band bestrode the Botswana music scene like a colossus. The band comprised the Senyatso brothers and a passing Scotsman who is credited with "bringing a particularly Celtic resonance" to their sound. Close your eyes and you wouldn't know if you are in Francistown or Falkirk.

"Sheleng" is from their 1993 album "Mephato Ya Maloba", available on Bandcamp for just $5. Its a good album but the sound quality is a bit ropey, as you will notice. 

One of the reasons I am doing this series is because it prompts me to learn more about the indigenous music of different parts of Africa. And what could be more indigenous to Botswana than death metal? Evidently there is a thriving scene there led by Overthrust, recent recipients of the prestigious  Gaborone's Greatest Grunters award. You can find their work on Bandcamp if you really want to.

Last but not least we have some MAR from MAR - that is to say, some Mandatory African Reggae from Maya Asiyah Roze. Her eruditely titled album "M.A.R.S The Warrior" can also be found on Bandcamp for $5. This is much more my sort of thing, although fans of Overthrust may prefer an alternative "Mars The Warrior". 

"Didimala Moratiwa" - Culture Spears

"Mahala" - Charma Gal

"Sheleng" - The Kgwanyape Band

"Victims Of Curse" - Overthrust

"Warrior" - Maya Asiyah Roze


  1. Surely you have some stuff by the Commodores?
    Oops -read that wrong!

  2. And Chad Cockerel!
    I'll get my coat ..

  3. I've tried those dance moves seen on the
    Khoza Mkhozeni video, but I kicked a cat and then fell over a dog. Neither were impressed.

    1. I can't find the album on bandcamp, unfortunately

    2. Maybe start with some simpler steps like in the Shumba Ratshega video before tackling Khoza's moves

    3. I don't want to take lessons from a man firing a catapult at a lion in a tree.