It was double joy for Yeni, eldest daughter of the late
Afrobeat legend, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti recently. Reason: her fiancé of
almost a decade, Theo Lawson, gave her surprise 55th birthday bash (HERE) and equally proposed marriage to her. In an exclusive chat with Entertainer, an obviously excited Yeni gushed about the proposal, describing it as a complete shock! Enjoy it.
You recently turned 55, how do you feel?
At 55, you start to feel the aches and pains of old age. You start to
say ‘huh, my back is paining me; my wrist is paining me, my finger is
paining me’, that’s when you start noticing the aches and pains. But I
love being this age because you have reached the age where you can say
what you want, and nobody can question you. You are no longer the young
person you used to be, you are now an older person; you just have to
earn that respect because of your age. But, you know, it’s the same body
you had when you were in your twenties. It’s the same mind you had when
you were in your thirties; it’s just getting older. You realise that
you are old when you are driving down the road and someone calls you
‘mummy’, that means you don’t look young again, you are looking like
‘mummy’, that reality strikes you and you say ‘so, I am mummy to this
person, he is looking at me and he is seeing mummy or she is looking at
me and she is seeing mummy’. You know, twenty years ago or fifteen
years ago, they will not call me mummy; they will call me a girl, but
now they call me mummy so, it shows I am really looking my age
Now that you are engaged, are you putting marriage into consideration?
Not at all. The ring my partner gave me is what they call ‘a
commitment ring’. He gave me his mother’s wedding ring as a commitment
to the relationship. We have been together for about nine years. When I
met him, he used to wear the ring around his neck, so for me, it is a
big deal. He has entrusted me with something very close to his heart. It
is not like we are going to start doing wedding and all that, even
though we are really committed to each other. I call him ‘my last bus
stop’. If God gives us long life and says there should be another man in
my life, he is the man for me and I believe I am the woman for him as
well. When he made the proposal, we didn’t know that it was going to go
How did you feel when he proposed?
I was shocked! I was very happy because I didn’t see it coming at
all. In fact, the surprise party blew me out of my mind; it was a double
shock for me; I thank God my shock absorbers are still working.
What do you cherish most about yourself?
I don’t know what I really cherish about myself. Let us say my hair,
because I remember when I burnt my hair and I thought I was not going
to have hair again, I was devastated. Well, I think the most important
thing is good health. I want to see my grandchildren, so I think I
cherish good health because I want to spend some time with my
grandchildren. I am looking forward to when I’ll have grandchildren.
At 55, do you still dance?
I take dance classes every Saturday at Freedom Park (Lagos), and I still train dancers. You know, dancing is a part of me.
What is the best thing Fela’s name has done for you?
It has not put millions on my table. I wish it would. Well, you know
Fela was an icon, so whether I do anything or not, people just respect
the name and they also expect good things from me. People ask me, ‘Yeni,
why don’t you go into politics?’ And I say the reason is that I don’t
want to tarnish the good name my father left for us. If I go into
politics and I enter into all this Senate ‘chop chop’ and collecting big
salaries, that would mean tarnishing the good name of my father. You
know, his name has made us one with the man on the streets, so I prefer
that world because the man on the street is the pulse of the nation. We
are not in the elite group. These are the important things my father’s
name has done for us; he made us to be part of the pulse of Nigeria. We
feel the pain. I don’t live in Ikoyi or Victoria Island.
Let us go back to the word ‘commitment’ you mentioned
earlier. Now that both of you are committed to each other, do you intend
We probably will and we are working towards it. I have a lot of
responsibilities and I have a lot of clothes too, so I have to be very
careful. If I move to his house with all of my clothes, he will say
‘oya, go back!’ So, I have to be very careful. Right now, I have a lot
of responsibilities. We love each other a lot and we are working into
building our retirement home; he sent me a picture the other time to
tell you why we should stay together.
Despite being 55, you are still beautiful, could you share your beauty secrets?
I just try to sleep and laugh a lot. I think laughter works a lot of
wonders and you hardly find me miserable. Even if something makes me
sad, I still try to be cheerful; laughter is very important in our