Veteran Nigerian singer, Onyeka Onwenu, has revealed the reason why she rejected Fela Kuti’s marriage proposal in the 1980s. Onyeka, dubbed the “Elegant Stallion” by the Nigerian press, revealed this in her new autobiography, titled My Father’s Daughter.
She said it was during her visit to Fela’s club, Kalakuta, that Fela asked her to marry him. She turned him down because as a possessive lover, she did not understand Fela’s love for women and could not cope as one out of his many wives.
Remember that Fela married 27 of his backup singers and dancers at the Parisona Hotel in Anthony, Lagos, on the 20th of February, 1978. Get the full story here.
Narrating how Fela proposed marriage, Onyeka wrote: “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.”
Thanks for reading.
My Father’s Daughter, A Book by Onyeka Onwenu
How And Why Fela Anikulapo Kuti Married His 27 Wives On The Same Day (With Marriage Photos); Teslim Omipidan.