Follow your dream Ifani style 

Words: Mooketsi Nthite
Photo right: Chris Saunders

South African hip hop artist Ifani quit his day job to pursue his music dreams. Here’s how he did it 

Ifani – aka Mzayifani Boltina – admits to being geeky back in high school. He scored straight As and enjoyed gobbling up text books like a bookworm. When teachers noticed his potential, they urged him to pursue a scientific profession after matric. He ended up studying geology at the University of Cape Town thanks to a De Beers scholarship, but got bored and decided to do a BSc (Honours) in Computer Engineering, and later Computer Science. He got his qualifications and quickly landed a job at SABMiller as a process control engineer and systems developer in 2008.

But despite the snazzy Golf 6 GTI the good-paying job afforded him, it only took him three years to decide to jump off the corporate assembly line and pursue his dream of being a hip hop artist. The same year he quit his job to pursue music full time, his singles and music videos hit number 1 on various national music charts. In 2014, the debut album of the nerdy-looking rapper wearing suspenders and oversized bifocals – I Believes In Me-1st Quadrant – won a SAMA for Best Hip Hop Album.

If you also want to quit the rat race, here are Ifani’s tips.


“Don’t just leave without knowing how to pay your debts. Before you leave, know your budget and how long it’s going to last you. And have an idea in the pipeline, and a good strategy to implement your new plans once you leave your job.”


“Before you resigned, the reason why you woke up every morning for so many years was to go to this stable 9 to 5 job. But now that it’s gone, you need to have the self-motivation to wake yourself up to pursue your new dream.”


“Make sure you have a broad network of investors, buyers, clients and other relevant people you know will be interested in the new product or service you are selling. Don’t start building contacts only after you quit.”


Working for large companies or organisations gives you benefits like medical aid, petrol, a phone allowance etc. But now that the company isn’t automatically taking care of these things for you, make sure you have the means to continue paying for personal essentials like medical aid. Don’t just focus on what you are going to need for your new venture.”


You might hate your job but don’t just quit if you are not sure you’re ready. You have to time everything so it coincides with your plans. I didn’t just quit my engineering job overnight and say ‘I’m doing this music thing’. I timed everything perfectly so that when I said, ‘I’m finished with engineering’, the resignation was perfectly synchronised with my music moves. 

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04 2015 Redbulletin.com

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