If you asked who the biggest star on the South African rap scene was at the moment you would get one reply: Khuli Chana. This talented young musician has been performing on South African stages for many years now and has managed to win the hearts of the people with his rich and topical songs in lyrical Motswako.
“Music gave me the confidence, the love and the patience I thought I never had,” says Chana. “It gave me a greater purpose and a sense of belonging. Music is healing in itself; it gets the hurt into the light and out of the darkness.”
Even in an interview, Chana’s words have a musical cadence as he talks about his plans and what inspires him. His favourite piece is Mnatebawen and he says this is because “I have always wanted to make a song that would hit perfectly down the middle, have kids losing their minds and their parents losing their minds every time they heard this song on the radio.”
He quotes Doctor Seuss when asked what advice he would give to young South Africans to inspire them to stand out and make the most out of life: “Be who you are, say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”
He believes that a formula for failure is to try and please everybody all the time.
“Knowledge is power and it’s our responsibility to empower the next generation with that knowledge and wisdom,” adds Chana.
Not only does Chana perform and tour, he is also the founder of Maftown Heights, an annual music festival celebrating Motswako rappers.
“I was inspired to create Maftown Heights to celebrate, unite and honour Mafikeng,” says Chana. “I am grateful to Refiloe Ramogase and Kgaugelo Maphai for making it a reality and one of the biggest events in the country. We’ve got a huge surprise for our next Maftown Heights, watch this space.” — Tamsin Oxford