weekend, all roads led to Terra Culture, Victoria Island, Lagos, for
the screening of a new musical on late afro beat legend, Fela Anikulapo
Kuti, entitled ‘Fela and The Kalakuta Queens’, a musical written,
produced and directed by Bolanle Austen-Peters of Terra Culture. Indeed
it was a gathering of the crème de la crème of the industry as captains
of industry, politicians, high networking individuals and thespians
graced the red carpet.
And of course, also in the house were two of
Fela’s wives, Bolanle Babayale and Omolara. The pair opened up to Entertainer on life with the late afro beat maestro, narrating their lives and times with him.
was a nice person to be with. You just loved him. Fela is from a wealthy
background and I am also from a wealthy background but I fell in love
with him because Fela was fighting for others, yet today, people are
still suffering. See what is happening to our people; there is so much
poverty. A lot of people cannot afford three square meals. Our children
are running away from the country everyday to go and meet their untimely
deaths. It is so sad.
doing anything to honour him and his wives. Apart from her, there is no
other person doing that. It is only the children that are doing
Felabration and they are just doing it for their own pocket; it is not
for us. Bolanle is honouring Fela today because she knows and
appreciates what Fela stood for. I don’t know how old she was when Fela
was alive, but she is still celebrating Fela after 20 years, a time when
everybody has forgotten about us. When Bolanle called me and said she
wanted to celebrate us, I was like ‘why, who are we?’ May God bless her
soul for remembering the women that stood and fought with Fela? Since
Fela died we have been completely forgotten. Bolanle really gave us honour.
big shock to me. Because too many people were coming to Kalakuta then,
the place became overcrowded so I had to go back to my parents’ house.
It was from there that I started working as a working class woman. When
he was sick I went to see him with the late Olikoye Ransome Kuti, Aunty
Dolu and late Sola was also there. It was about two weeks after that he
died. He always advised us to work hard. He never tolerated docile
people and he always paid us well. When I saw him I knew he was going to
die. I cried as I left his room that day. I cried because I never
expected to see him in the condition that I saw him.
My house was opposite the Shrine at Surulere Night Club. That was how I
met him and became his dancer. I started with Fela as a girlfriend
before he eventually married me.
wanted; that was what I was looking for. I am a music lover. I was in
love with Fela. It was the music that attracted me to him.
we saw on stage today is exactly what happened, because I was taken out
of Fela’s house more than 10 times and I always went back. There was no
time I stayed away (laughter).
way people were treating his women. He married us because he wanted to
make us proud; he did not want us to be disgraced. They used to call us
prostitutes and Ashewo, Igbo (Indian hemp) smokers and this made us very
unhappy. He knew how we had fought with him and suffered for him. We
left everything, sacrificed everything just to be with him. We never
abandoned him to surfer alone; anywhere they were taking him to we went
with him. By marrying us he gave us honour and showed us appreciation.
He wanted us to be respected as responsible and hard working wives.
first saw the soldiers. I was so close to Fela, I was the one taking
care of her. I took care of Mama till she died. I started taking care of
her in 1974.
knew who Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti was. She was the woman that fought for
Universal Adult Suffrage, she was the woman that sent an Alake away from
the throne, and she was the first woman that drove a car in Nigeria.
She was a pioneer and an inspiration to millions of Nigerian women.
painful. I don’t want to relive it again. I never had any premonition
that anything untoward was going to happen that morning. I was in Mama’s
room and I had just made food for her which she ate and we sat down and
were chatting, while Fela was sleeping in his room. Suddenly, all hell
broke loose; I was lucky to have escaped with my life.
and from there to General Hospital Lagos. Her condition was so bad she
could not speak for a while because of her injuries. I was the one
feeding her alongside her first daughter.
to us and we waited for him. We knew that they could never kill Fela,
because he never killed anybody. The only weapon he had was his music.
school and study but I said no. He wanted me to go back to school but I
told him that life had ‘entered’ my body and I did not want to go back.
And so he said I must work, which was what I did throughout our years
could not remarry or stay with any man, because I was so in love with
Fela. His standard was too high. He was too generous. He was every
woman’s dream; he was a disciplinarian who knew how to handle his women.
AIDS. I still wonder what gave them that impression. What killed Fela
was the beating he received from soldiers for many years. He was always
in pain because of the beatings and that affected his health seriously. I
totally disagree that Fela died of AIDS.
was my boss and I worked for him. He was a very nice man. He let me to
know the truth about life; he opened my eyes. I travelled to a lot of
countries with him, beginning from Ghana, Germany, France, Switzerland
and Italy, to mention a few; we went all over the world.
for long and I loved his music. So I wanted to stay in his house and be
one of his dancers and he welcomed me; I was very young then.
no dull moments. Fela was running an empire. We were all working and
Kalakuta was like a country. Fela never tolerated docility; if you must
be with him you must work and earn money.
teacher then, Ajayi Ogunde, one of late Pa Ogunde’s sons. He came on
Thursdays and Saturdays and we exercised a lot. On Sunday we had
Sunday’s Jump and on Tuesdays we had Ladies Night where ladies don’t
pay. We had shows on Tuesdays, Fridays Saturdays and Sundays and after
they burnt Fela’s house, we moved to Cross Roads Hotel at Jibowu, Lagos.
Fela took me all over the world for shows.
us, but what happened that day was evil. I was in Kalakuta and those
soldiers had no mercy. I had just woken up and I was upstairs when
suddenly we heard shouting and screaming and that was it. We were on the
balcony discussing, so we all ran inside and they came for us with
their clubs, petrol, whips and matches. I was hospitalised for two
weeks. Later they charged us to court, but the judge discharged us
because we had no case to answer. They beat the hell out of me. It was a
very bad experience which I will never forget. They beat us
mercilessly. It was a terrible day. They beat us and raped some of us. I
was stabbed in a very delicate part of my body. It was a day of sorrow,
tears and blood.
was not really expecting it, but when it happened I was very happy. He
gave us honour and respect with that move. I left his house in 1984.
place and returned to my family house and today I am a caterer. After
that I gave myself to Jesus and became born again. It is not that I
hated Fela’s lifestyle, but I needed to have a religion. I belong to
doing so much after 20 years. When I went to Fela’s house I had a
mission. We are not prostitutes. Some of us are Magistrates’ daughters.
We were from good homes. Fela happened to me for a purpose. Fela is part
of my life and I have no regrets. Life is all about taking one step
after the other towards self discovery and actualization. Fela was one
of those steps I had to pass through to reach my destiny.
working. I am not ashamed to be one of Fela’s girls. I worked for him, I
am not a prostitute. And my family never rejected me. Whenever I went
home, they welcomed me. Even my mother knew I was staying in Fela’s
house and it was not a big deal. Fela was grossly misunderstood.
promote us as Fela’s girls and not as prostitutes. Fela was a nice man.
He hated cheating. I thank God for Bolanle, God used her to help us. When we were in Kalakuta, Fela gave us so much respect. Laide was my senior in Fela’s house. People used to
call us Igbo smokers and prostitutes but we were actually workers. We
were working for Fela. I was a dancer and I travelled a lot with Fela.
He took me all over the world. He fought for the rights of the down
trodden. I will miss him forever.
Buhari’s daughter, Daughter, Zahra And Her Husband, Ahmed Indimi, Celebrate Their 1st Wedding Anniversary
and her husband, billionaire son Ahmed Indimi, celebrated their first
wedding anniversary yesterday, December 15th – the couple took to both
their social media handles to express the ecstasy of being married to
Zahra on her IG page, said they were meant for each other. She wrote:
‘I think this picture
says it all for me.. You have showered me with love, kindness, respect..
The Prophet Muhammad PBUH said “the best of you are those best to their
wives”. Alhamdulillah I know you are one of those men.
They say marriage makes or breaks a person… Alhamdulillah ??...
A 45-year-old Nigerian man and three Vietnamese women were on
Thursday, December 14, sentenced to jail by a court in Can Tho City in
southern Vietnam for duping people including 40 women around the country
out of more than VND20 billion ($900,000).
Micheal Ikechukwu Leonard and his gang duped nearly 40 women into
paying customs fees for non-existent expensive gifts from overseas.
Leonard received 18 years in prison, while Huynh Ha Binh, Huynh Ha
Uyen and Nguyen Tran Quynh Nhi, all from Ho Chi Minh City, got between
12 to 15 years each.
According to the indictment, Leonard and Binh, 27, started living
together in August...