Not a given for Given …

LEPHALALE — The 45-minute-documentary, Mission 9:9, gives you a look into the life of a young man at the crossroads in his life, who abandons his professional qualification in pursuit of becoming a musician.

The 24-year-old Given Refiloe Kekana (Mapimpana) from Lephalale has always dreamt beyond his immediate environment when his peers dreamt of working at Matimba or Medupi Power Plants. He dreamt of being on stage and performing to a crowd filled stadium.

Mission 9:9 follows him on this path as he tries to navigate life and the pressures that come with it amid choosing a career path that has no guaranteed income.

He is a musician and a rapper who solely relies on his music for income. Although he has a qualification in mining, all he ever wanted was to become a musician.

It was unfortunate that there was no school around Lephalale that had media studies. Besides his parents had already decided what he was to study, safety management. It was during an exam session in a school hall that gave him conviction to pursue a music career. He didn’t want to be desk bound or put on Personal Protective Gear when he wanted to go to work. He then completed the course for the sake of his parents but insisted on pursuing a music career when it was time to look for a job. This decision was not taken lightly by his parents.

The decision to pursue a music career comes from a pattern he saw in his brothers who regret choosing a career their parents and society wanted for them and not what they wanted for themselves.

One of Mapimpana’s brothers, Frans Kekana, who introduced Mapimpana to music, wanted to become a soccer player after his high school graduation.

He, however, did not become a soccer player because their parents also wanted him to work at one of the nearby power plants.
 Frans lives with regret of what he could’ve been if he chased his dream career. Mapimpana wanted to break that cycle.

The film picks up during the recording of Mapimpana’s debut Ep (Album) project and radio tour promotion.

Watching the film, one gets to learn and understands the internal struggles he is going through.

Mission 9:9 features studio recording sessions of Mapimpana’s Ep (Album) to try and understand his psyche during this transitional period. This includes radio interviews from different provincial stations that help in opening him up about the sacrifices he is personally going through. Sacrifices that have led him to be less regarded in society and in his family because of his inability to currently provide financially, especially being a man It also includes a series of portrait visuals that isolates Mapimpana in his town, bringing to the fore that those who take the road less travelled suffer in isolation.

The director and writer of Mission 9:9, Tumelo Moutlana, says he was always fascinated by Given/Mapimpana. “I loved the contrast in his life, a musician, rapper living in Lephalale, a mining town. I wanted to find out why he was sacrificing employment for an unpredictable music career?

Mapimpana is an example of the saying: “Chase you dream no matter what”. A saying that is a direct meaning of Mission 9:9. Which means chase your dreams wholeheartedly, 9:9 in South African informal language means at whatever costs. This film is a portrait profile of an individual on a Mission to live out the life he wants for himself against the criticism and the pressures. A testimonial of thoughts of an individual on a road less traveled.”

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