iFani on what chased him home and why he's back in the spotlight
After more than two years since he left the industry suddenly and without warning, iFani has decided to come back. He told TshisaLIVE why he left, where he's been and what brought him back.
The Xhosa rapper said it was a combination of things that saw him leaving the industry at the peak of his career, adding that he had to do it for his sanity.
"I've been at home, in Nelson Mandela Bay. I haven't been on these entertainment streets. I haven't been doing TV things or music things. But I have been making music here and there - although I'll admit that most of the time I was just doing nothing, being a beach bum," he said.
"I left because I honestly felt like I needed some time to myself, not in a clichéd way, but in a way that came from me thinking ... I have been hard at work and for a long time, when am I ever gonna rest?
"But I never stopped making music. I just stopped doing the other parts, like doing interviews and just being in this [entertainment industry] space," he said.
It was only after he'd "disappeared" from the spotlight that his fans were given a glimpse of what may have been behind his decision to "leave everything behind".
The rapper has had his share of bad experiences in the industry, including a feud with his former record label and a struggle with depression, which he opened up about on Twitter during his hiatus.
Now ready for his comeback, iFani has opted to ease back into the spotlight and focus on his music. He said he's on a mission to infuse hip-hop with traditional influences.
He figures that his latest single with Papzito, titled Mokibelo, is worth leaving his "safe space".
"I'm here now because of this project that I am working on. It is worth me leaving my safe space ... It is worth it academically for the young ones and necessary for the hip-hop movement eMzansi," he said.
"Not only will there be educational value to this music, but it will also go a long way to letting young people know that the music they listen to can be a reflection of who they are, in totality - that they can combine their traditions and culture into their favourite music genre, wear their traditional gear and make it work, own it."
Although he was initially hesitant to return to an industry that made him feel like he "didn't want to be here", iFani said this fear was outweighed by the potential to touch young people's lives.
Watch the performance of Mokibelo on the video below.