Last year, R&B singer Safi Niyibikora, aka Safi Madiba, made waves in the local media following his highly publicised civil and traditional marriage to then fiancée Judith Niyonizera.
The former Urban Boys frontman is now husband to Canada-based Niyonizera, who is the subject of the singer’s latest single, Igifungo.
Following their wedding at the close of September last year, there was heavy speculation from fans and the media that the singer would relocate to Canada, where his wife is still based.
The future of the boy group, Urban Boys, also came in the spotlight when it emerged that another group member, Humble Jizzo, was expecting his first child with his American girlfriend Amy Blauman.
Would the two go off to join their new families in Canada, and the U.S, leaving the third member, Nizzo Kaboss, real name Muhammad Nshimiyimana, alone in Rwanda?
For Safi Madiba, part of the answer to that question is to be found in his latest song, Igifungo, off his upcoming maiden solo album, Back to Life.
After his marriage last year, Safi quit Urban Boys, and is currently signed to The Mane Music, a new music label in Kigali. Also signed to the label are his cousin R&B songbird Queen Cha, and Marina.
The singer describes Igifungo as a “true love story” inspired by his wife Judith.
Indeed, the song’s video clip, shot in Kigali by Meddy Saleh, features Safi Madiba and Judith.
“I did the song as a gift to her,” said Safi in an interview with The New Times last Saturday. For this reason, the reserved singer released the song officially on September 15, which happens to be Judith’s birthday.
He says that the song is his reaffirmation of his undying love for his wife.
Safi has been up in arms against local online tabloids which continue to make her wife a topic, particularly her private life in Canada.
“Igifungo is like prison or a lock so people think it’s a life story, but it’s a love song, and I got the idea from my wife, and that’s why I had to feature her in the video because the inspiration was from her. It’s a love song, which says... I am ready to be in jail for your love. I asked if she could appear in my video and she accepted.”
He added: “When I married her, people were gossiping a lot. It’s always been my dream to do a song talking about everything that happened between me and her. This was my opportunity to tell my fans that I didn’t marry her by mistake. It was a conscious decision that I took after much thought.”
Safi went on to say that: “It’s not been easy, but on the other side it’s good for me because taking decisions as a solo artiste is easier than when you are in a group.”
Apart from Igifungo, some of the other songs on the upcoming Back To Life album, include Got It, featuring Meddie; Fine, featuring Tanzanian Bongo Flava star Rayvanny; Kimwe Kimwe, Nisame, featuring Riderman; and Good Morning.
Another single on the album that sounds like a dedication to his wife is titled, My Hero, a love song about a woman that loves you more than other women you’ve met before.
The album title, Back to Life, is an ode to the singer’s musical journey so far:
“I called it Back to Life because it explains my journey since I started my music. Back to Life is like to be reborn. I started in a group, then I left the group to start a solo career, and here I am.”
Dismissing the talk about relocating to Canada, he said: “First of all I didn’t marry so that I could leave my country. I love my country, and I am a patriot. Another thing is, I do love music with all my heart. It would be difficult for me to do music from outside my country, therefore I can’t leave Rwanda to go to Canada when the people I’m singing for are Rwandans. I visit my wife and she visits me here.”
The singer recently dragged an online outlet to Rwanda Media Commission (RMC), the media-self regulation body, for consistently tarnishing his wife’s name.