Although he has had his share of setbacks–including losing a major-label deal with Sony and getting carjacked and kidnapped– iFani has ascended quite rapidly to South African stardom. We covered that rise in last year’s “South Africa Today” program. After abandoning a career as an engineer, the young rapper put out several successful singles before dropping his debut full-length I Believes in Me: 1st Quadrant, the current number-one record on South Africa’s iTunes. iFani stands out by rapping entirely in the Xhosa language, rarely heard in South African hip-hop, even though it’s the second most-spoken language in the country. He’s well known for his unique fashion sense–sometimes rocking rimless glasses, wool gloves, a dollar-sign chain and suspenders with an ungroomed Afro–and his funny, fast-paced rapping style.
iFani displays another side on “iingoma Ezimnandi,” the sixth single from I Believes in Me. The song is dedicated to Mamthembu, his deceased grandmother who raised him, “and all mothers who passed on.” The video for the song shows a young boy growing up with a loving grandmother, playing games with him and shedding a tear as he gets his college diploma, before hitting a sad note as iFani grieves over his grandmother’s passing. His rapping prowess is clear, with the sounds of Xhosa smoothly bouncing off each other in a rapid-fire delivery. Check it out below!