“Fela wanted to marry me, and I was flattered but here is why I rejected his marriage proposal but later got married to a Yoruba Muslim” Onyeka Onwenu
Veteran Nigerian singer, Onyeka Onwenu has revealed that music legend, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti approached her for marriage in the eighties.
Onyeka who revealed this in her new autobiography, titled My Father’s Daughter, however, said she rejected Fela’s proposal during her visit to his club because of his other wives, adding that she settled for a Yoruba Muslim.
According to her, she is a possessive lover and did not understand Fela’s love for women.
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.”
She 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.”
The ace singer and actress, however, revealed that she got married to a Yoruba Muslim in 1984 and the union produced two sons named Tijani Ogunlende and Ibrahim Ogunlende.
Ms Onwenu, who has always kept her life private, made this revelation in the autobiography of the 68-year-old movie star.
Onwenu revealed how she fell in love decades ago and how the union produced her two sons — Tijani and Ibrahim.
“In this book, I am, perhaps for the very first time, setting the records straight with respect to my connubial relationship. Yes, I was married. I married a man I fell in love with in 1984,” she said. “We have two children: Tijani and Ibrahim. (Ibrahim later changed the first letter of his name from I to A, and thus became Abraham.) My husband is Yoruba, and was a Muslim when we met.”
The autobiography also documents her life as a musician, activist, wife, mother, and politician as well as her formative contact with feminism.
The author shared how the war — between 1967 to 1970 — affected her life and her family.