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Amani's path: From pop star to finding salvation

 Amani talks about her transition to the church, marriage and motherhood [Courtesy, Files Standard]

You have not been in the limelight for some time.

I think I simply made a vital transition. There is a moment in life when you start craving something different. I started craving a spiritual connection with my God I knew there was more, despite being a leading female musician and having won the MTV Africa Music Awards twice. In my search for that, I found myself in church, craving for that space. I started with gospel music way back before getting into secular music and even signing a deal with Ogopa Deejays.

Was the transition smooth?

It was not easy. I remember I would wake up and decide today is the day for change then have my past pull me back. I would postpone the change, but it got to a point I felt truly done with secular music. Promoters who used to give me gigs could not believe I was headed for this big change and that I was not interested in the shows anymore. They would call and give me these big offers, concerts that would pay well, and I would decline. Then they would call for yet another big one, and I would give the same feedback. That was it. When I decided I was not taking performances I made a spiritual decision to take Jesus as my saviour and that cemented it all. I joined Bible School and that gave me a new perspective on the new life I was getting into.

You had to terminate your contract with Ogopa Deejays...

I had begun the process of terminating the contract. I had to move from the life of a secular artiste and forget about the fans and the fame. This meant creating a new community around me including my dad and mum, who is a pastor, as well as my brother who does a lot of work in the church.

Here is a top secular artiste coming to church with all the fame. Did you receive acceptance?

I think the people who were shocked most are the ones who I was in Bible School with. I could see those seated next to me inwardly asking themselves, "Dean vetted this one?" The Bible School dean at the church I had been going to, Winners Chapel, used to see me every Sunday and he would say he had been waiting for me. It sounded like a joke, but it felt that this was soon coming home. That is the reason why it felt easy when I finally made the decision. This was a new environment where I had to build my faith to take me way beyond Bible School.

 She opened up in an exclusive interview with Eve Woman [Courtesy, Files, Standard]

What sacrifices did you have to make to leave your singing career?

I had this career for 15 years and now it was no more. That was a big sacrifice. I mean, at the time this was my life and my source of livelihood and it meant everything to me. I had to take bold steps of faith in this transition, sacrificing everything I had been. I had to start a new business and that took a lot of planning. It takes time to move from the life you are used to and for me, this also meant leaving the big money I used to make as I trusted God to guide me. God cushioned me around that time from a lot of things, and gracefully. so In some instances, I doubted myself. Starting my business, and making new investments meant I was not going to start making money immediately. I was also transitioning from singlehood to marriage.

How did you manage to keep your love life a secret and free from scandals?

I had relationships (laughs). I mean, I did. I think it is just the people I was dating were not in the industry. At 30... 33, the pressure to get married started mounting as people began questioning why I was not getting married. Some still ask if I am married, so I am letting it out now. I met my husband through work, at a time I was not looking for a relationship. For months, we hang out as friends. It was not until I invited him to my birthday party and a friend asked who this man was and if we were dating. When asked how I would feel if I saw him with someone else, it got me thinking... Luckily, somebody asked him the same question and he answered back that he was my boyfriend and there we were! We got engaged five years later and soon after, got married.

How has married life been?

The truth is people who are married never tell the single ones marriage has challenges. It is not perfect, it is a learning process. A big challenge was wanting to a child and it was not happening, the disappointments were now showing. The problem was me because I had previously gone through surgery. I finally got pregnant and now we have a son. I gave birth in 2020.

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