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.”
BUSTED: Why Fela Anikulapo Kuti Married His 27 Wives On The Same Day (With Marriage Photos)
In the year 1978, the pioneer of Afrobeats, Fela Anikulapo Kuti, married 27 women on the same day. This should not in any way be strange to those who know the life and style of the Nigerian music legend nicknamed Abami Eda (strange creature).
After the devastating attack on Fela’s commune, Kalakuta Republic, in 1977, many of his band members became homeless and Fela then decided to do the unusual by putting out a piece of paper to his female band members requesting for the names of those that would like to marry him, and the entire twenty-seven female band members put down their names.
And so, on the 20th of February, 1978, Fela Kuti married 27 of his backup singers and dancers at the Parisona Hotel in Anthony, Lagos, with the blessings of twelve Ifa priests.
It was alleged that some parents of the ladies objected the marriage which took place nevertheless since it wasn’t against the ladies’ wishes.
Why Fela Married 27 wives
Scooper News gathered that Fela married the women to protect them and debunk the rumor that he was kidnapping them. The marriage ceremony was attended by Fela’s families, friends and band members.
During the marriage ceremony, Fela rendered a short speech, pressed naira notes on his new wives’ foreheads and gave them marriage certificates. Fela employed a rotation system of 12 wives at a time. After the marriage, Fela took his wives to Ghana for honeymoon.
However, in 1986, shortly after his release from prison, Fela Kuti divorced his