Khuli Chana

The Mirror Truth

The Khuli Chana I remember felt like he was at home smashing mirrors and roaring expletives at it. When you’re a fiery and passionate rapper, it’s kind of expected.


Khuli and I first connected on campus as he performed to thousands of students. Since then he's gone into hall-of-fame territory having won multiple accolades as a rapper and musician.


Grounded. Connected. Powerful. That's how Khuli felt this time around as we reunited in-studio almost 15 years later. Time, introspection and working through life’s ups-and-downs will affect that kind of change.


The photograph shows a mirror image of the men as they face each other. He expresses defiance. He expresses passion. He expresses a quiet power. “I got this”


So, which character is the authentic man. The 2 mirrored characters both display a different truth, so the short answer is, they both are. The poem by Lara Biyut says it best:

Mirrors don't lie.

They only show a part of truth.

A broken mirror can enlarge a face up to a dimension of a small planet.

A problem of reflection?

A point of view.


Featuring: Khuli Chana

Studio Lighting and creative input: Dieter Bertram

Special thanks to Thabo Ngwenya

Shot with Canon and Godox

It’s been 15 years since Khuli and I last connected. He performed at a number of campus music events that we put together for BlackBerry. Yes, that long ago! Since then Khuli Chana went on a rapid upward trajectory, where we became the name all young South Africans recognised, solidifying his name as a rap icon and culture creator.


Khuli's been through lots of ups & downs since then and it was so great to reconnect and get a deeper insight into this man as launched his new album, 'Planet Of The Have Nots'. I love the quote by Paul Caponigro, “It’s one thing to make a picture of what a person looks like, it’s another thing to make a portrait of who they are.”

Behind the scenes image : Dieter Bertram

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