It has been a long walk to fame for Magdalene “Charma Gal’ Lesolebe.
Born in a sleepy village of Lerala in the Tswapong District 33 years ago, Lesolebe has tremendously grown from a young and shy lead vocalist for Culture Spears, a traditional music outfit, to a sassy and sexy award winning solo artist who packs up venues and churns out hit songs.
Speaking about her musical journey at her home in the leafy suburb of Block 6 where she is nursing her baby to local businessman, Resego Matenge, she says, “It is indeed a wonder how I came to be a performer.”
As a schoolgirl, her uniform was always clean and neatly ironed and her mother planted the idea in her head that she would look gorgeous in a white nurse’s uniform.
It however only took Lesolebe two weeks at a nursing school to realize that the care giving profession was not for her so she quit school and fled to Kasane where she was introduced to the world of music, subsequently becoming part of the Culture Spears outfit.
“As you can imagine my mother was livid, I was sorry to disappoint her but my mind was made up.”
Her experience with Culture Spears was definitely enriching, both artistically and personally as she got to marry her co- singer, Kabelo Mogwe, but it was definitely not without its challenges.
“ In a group, everyone’s ideas have to be taken into account and this can delay progress and cause frustration. As a solo artist I enjoy the liberty of owning my choices and dictating how I wish my journey to evolve, ” she says.
Many will never forget Lesolebe’s highly publicized divorce from Mogwe but the successful singer has clearly moved on and is now happy with her current boyfriend and their new bundle of joy.
“I have grown to embrace the lessons learnt and love the space I am in at the moment. My ex -husband and I are civil towards each other so much so that during the festive season, I got to share the stage with him. As artists we must support one another and work towards growing the industry that feeds us, so ain’t nobody got time for squabbles in 2017.”
Although Lesolebe describes 2016 as a difficult year marked by the death of her dancers in a car accident, she lights up when she talks about the birth of her son.
“I was devastated by the death of my band members to the point where I wanted to quit music, but with the support of my family and the nation’s well wishes I slowly embraced life again. I also had a young life to think about and looking into my baby’s eyes fills me with such joy and drive and inspires me to put my best foot forward.”
Talking about the balancing act of being Charmagal the celebrity and Magdalene in her private space, she says, “On stage I am Charma gal and off stage I wear a different persona. I am under no illusions that I have it all. Besides, to my family I’m still the same village girl I was back then and I still enjoy going to the lands (Masimo).”
Her traditional rhythms sang in the vernacular filled a niche in the market and catapulted her to massive success with songs like “Tlhatswa lesire” and “Sekuta,” causing much commentary on the lyrics which resonated with many.
“ My songs are definitely revealing of my experiences and the experiences of many others. I have had people especially women share how some lines from my songs sound as though they were specifically written for them. I take the responsibility of being a conscious artist seriously. I am a voice lamenting about happenings in our society, ”
It is against this backdrop that Lesolebe’s next album to be released sometime this year is waited for by her legions of fans in bated breath.
“The album speaks of everyday life, people’s experiences; both good, bad and even shocking, it certainly speaks of subjects relatable to many.”
To what the New Year holds for her, Lesolebe says her concentration is on rebuilding a strong brand with new members and nurturing her relationship with her partner to raise a closely-knit and happy family.
Although she and her partner are happy together, Charma Gal shies away from the idea of marriage in the near future.
“I’m grateful for the support of my partner. But having a baby does not necessarily mean there’ll be a rush to the alter. I am a proponent of being an independent woman and was raised to work hard and not to rely on someone else for my upkeep and for my happiness, so we are taking it slowly and enjoying each day as it comes,” She says
Charma Gal’s revelations
1. Her favorite holiday destination is Capetown – I love the history the city holds and the excursions it offers
2. She admits to her love for gospel music and has an impressive collection of Winnie Mashaba’s cds
3. She is the fifth of eight children
4. At home she is called Mmagwe George or Magatalena (Magdelene)
5. She believes she is yet to attain success
6. Her most expensive pair of shoes cost her R4800
7. She would do a collaboration with Franco