South African musician and rapper iFani spoke to students at Rhodes University about how he has overcome challenges to get where he is today. He spoke to students about the benefit of looking for solutions rather than staring at the problem.
iFani, whose birth name is Mzayifani Mzondeleli, was born in Mthatha but spent most of his childhood between Motherwell and New Brighton. Despite having grown up in poverty, his interest and focus on his studies led him to matriculate and subsequently graduate from the University of Cape Town (UCT) with a Bachelor of Science (B.Sc) in Computer Engineering.
iFani really became noticed and taken seriously following the release of the track “Ewe” which was played all over the world and went to number one in Botswana. He currently coaches on the popular TV competition show Clash of the Choirs and is promoting his project, named Project F2A at universities across the country.
Through these talks he reaches out to students to understand that education will help you no matter what your personal goal is.
“Education is knowing how to get something that you want…education is just there to sharpen our mind, it doesn’t matter what you are educated in,” he said.
It is through this conviction that iFani explained that to him, there is no point looking that he problem but rather it is important to focus on the solution. With regards to #Feesmustfall, he stated that it would be more beneficial to focus on a solution, such as raising funds, than looking at the problem that people are being excluded because of a lack of government subsidies.
This outlook has not come about without serious personal experience. iFani candidly explained that his biggest failure in life was his attempted suicide.
“I feel so bad that I felt like life wasn’t worth living,” he explained.
Although he claims his aim is not to be called an inspiration, it is clear that his success, belief in doing what is best for yourself and values of achievement being set on a personal scale has been an inspiration for students across the country.
Words by Leila Stein