Entertainment / Celebs And Viral

Hlabangani Mtshali
3 minute read
26 Aug 2016
3:25 pm

How Khuli Chana picked up the pieces

Hlabangani Mtshali

Rapper Khuli Chana speaks about life before and after being shot at by police in an upcoming documentary.

Poster for Khuli Chana's new documentary film, Picking Up The Pieces. Photo: Supplied.

The year 2013 was looking to be a tremendous year for rap mega star, Khuli Chana. In less than six months, he had his first kid, walked away with three SAMAs and a Metro FM award and his single Mnatebawen was arguably the biggest song in the country.

‘2013 was a good year, but, you know, sh*t happened.’

But the high he was riding came to an abrupt halt on the night of October 28. While driving to a gig in Pretoria, the Motswakoriginator was shot at nine times by cops in a sting operation gone horribly wrong.

The shooting and subsequent legal battle with the South African Police Service – which ended in the two parties settling for an undisclosed amount – left him with one hell of a story to tell.

Read More: Khuli Chana and cops reach settlement

And this is precisely what he does in his documentary film, Picking Up The Pieces: The Khuli Chana Story, which explores how, in a single night, the highest point in Khuli Chana’s life and career quickly became his lowest.

“[The film] is about where I’ve been in the last three years, it’s about me sharing my pain and telling you more about 2013. 2013 was a good year, but, you know, sh*t happened,” he told The Citizen during the premiere of Picking Up The Pieces in Johannesburg.


The interior of Khuli Chana’s car from the night of the incident.

The aftermath of the shooting was hard for the rapper and the experience was weighing heavy on his chest and stifling his creativity. He needed an outlet.

Also Read: This week belongs to Khuli Chana

“I struggled for so long to channel [the shooting] into the music and I was struggling to move on to the next phase. The situation with the cops … it became a thing. Everybody became more interested in whether or not I was going to sue. It became less and less about the music and I was struggling to talk about my pain like Tupac and 50 Cent did. I struggled,” the rapper said.rsz_khulicar

There’s certain things you cannot explain. Like how do you walk out alive from 9 bullets? Three headshots? There’s a higher being.

“I went to therapy for a couple of sessions, and I was outta there. I was like, ‘Aight, ke grand’ (I’m good). When I was ready to release new material, I figured: let me put out a documentary and talk about it. Let me do something I hardly do, which is talk” he said.

But coming that close to death – three of the four bullets missed his head by mere inches – has changed his view on life and law enforcement in the country, and brought him closer to God.

Also Read: Hugs as police apologise to Khuli Chana

“It showed me that there is a dark side. It showed me that there’s good police, and that there’s really bad, f*cked-up police. But above them, there’s a God. There’s a higher being. There’s certain things you cannot explain. Like how do you walk out alive from 9 bullets? Three headshots? There’s a higher being, that’s the guy that pulled me out of that car alive,”

Despite all that has happened in the last three years, the 34-year-old rapper is looking to now tell stories through film and become the Spike Lee of South Africa and take on the world again.

“Man it’s been like a decade, and I feel like we just started [laughs] I feel like we’ve only begun,” he said.

Picking Up The Pieces will show at selected Ster-Kinekor theatres nationwide from the 1st to the 4th of September. It will also be screening at the upcoming Jozi Film Festival before making its way to SABC 1. Watch the trailer below: