How I turned down Fela’s marriage proposal, by Onwenu

By Samuel Oamen

Veteran singer Onyeka Onwenu has recalled how she turned down a marriage proposal from late Afro beat legend, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti in the 80s.

In her autobiography titled My father’s daughter, Onwenu said she rejected the proposal because of Fela’s many wives.

She said the proposal was during her visit to his Kalakuta club in Ikeja, Lagos.

The singer said as a possessive lover, she did not understand Fela’s love for women.

According to her: “The second time I saw Fela was in 1984, a few years after I had returned from the United States. He had just been released from jail.

“He was arrested for attempting to travel with his band for a gig in London with the sum of 1,600 pounds for their hotel accommodation.

“At the time, carrying any amount of foreign currency was against one of the many decrees promulgated by the Buhari/Idiagbon military junta.

“After he was released from prison, Fela sent a mutual friend, the journalist Onuorah Udenwa who is now a US-based pastor, to bring me to his club. I thought that he probably wanted to thank me for speaking up for him, but that was not it.

“He never even mentioned the article I had written in solidarity with him. Fela wanted to marry me and I was flattered. I thanked him for the honour of wanting me to become his consort but I turned him down all the same.”

The music legend added that while she waited at the club to see him, she noticed that his Queen (dancer-wives) had been looking at her with scorn.

“They passed by often, whispering comments about me. They were downright hostile and quite obvious about it.

“I pointed this out to him and told him that I was a possessive lover and would not be able to cope as an appendage to his harem but Fela laughed,” she recalled.


Source: The Nation

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